Time

James 4 14

I cannot believe how quickly time passes. My goal after getting sick was to at least put out one blog post per week. Needless to say I have failed that goal. Strangely….I find I can live with that!

I also cannot believe 2019 is already here. It seems like just yesterday various women family members and I were planning a cruise…that is already almost a year ago. It is hard to imagine all the things that have happened between that planning time and this new year.

We have had the normal ups and downs and then a few abnormal ups and downs. Spring saw the normal planting of fields and then the abnormal flooding that had the river so high that we saw fish swimming over the black top road south of us.

Summer saw us preparing for my son’s wedding and enjoying that. Late summer also saw me having a stay in the hospital which started my journey of recovering from the West Nile Virus. (That is still an ongoing process but I am very much improved!)

Fall saw some more flooding but it didn’t seem as dire as the spring flooding because when the water only kills the weeds that grew from the first flooding it is okay. The upside of the weeds…. we see more pheasants that we have seen in a while.

Winter, so far, appears to be normal. We have had nice days and now we have sub-zero temps at times. I do favor the nice days!

This holiday season we had the great fun of going to grandparents day at our grandchildren’s school and watching them in school and church Christmas programs. What a blessing that was.

This year we celebrated our third grandchild’s first birthday…another wonderful blessing. We gathered, as family, for various things throughout the year and finally this past Saturday I had my entire family under my roof for our Christmas celebration.

It has been an entire year since I had them all under my roof at the same time. It did this mom’s heart a great deal of good to see them all together. I am not sure, but I think God put that longing into a mother’s heart and when it actually happens it waters the soul.

Someone asked what my goal or resolution for the next year was. I know my goal after September was to write a post per week. I have since changed that goal to finding a gratitude moment in every day. I am not sure which goal is the most difficult…but I do know that finding gratitude moments, big or small, will be a blessing in ways I can only imagine.

I pray your 2018 was fulfilling. I pray your 2019 will be even more of a blessing. I have discovered this past year, that neither wealth or health is the key to this fulfillment  or blessing…but being grateful for the big and small things in daily life is that key. May you have gratitude moments in the days of 2019.

“Write it on your heart that everyday is the best day of the year.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Christmas Ornaments

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There is something special about Christmas ornaments. We even heard about Christmas ornaments during the children’s sermon at church this morning. The couple doing the Children’s sermon asked the kids if any of them had angels on their Christmas tree.

A few of the kids raised their hands, some did not. They then went on to explain why angels are on Christmas trees. They explained that angels brought great news of joy that long ago night.20181223_160618.jpg

My husband leaned over with a smirk, and whispered in my ear that our tree had a spaceship ornament…..and he is right. I have no idea if it really is a spaceship. It just kind of resembles something off the movie “Men in Black”. It is an ornament from my husband’s childhood and always finds a place on our tree.

I often wonder if my husband loves that ornament because of childhood memories or if he just thinks it looks kind of funky….maybe it is a bit of both. I love that ornament because it speaks of my husband’s childhood. It is a link to his family history. I also love the fact that it is plastic and therefore durable enough for grandkids to handle!

Strangely…or maybe not so strange that “funky” ornament brings to mind the story of Christmas for me. Maybe it is because it comes back to family. Our family history becomes entwined with the history of that night in a stable.

I think Christmas speaks of beginnings and babies are definitely a new beginning. It speaks of the fact that over 2000 years ago Mary and Joseph became the earthly family of Jesus….Immanuel…God with us. It speaks of promises kept from the beginning of creation. It speaks of faithfulness and the fact that He always provides.

Which brings me back to angels…..all those little kids this morning knew that the angels told of a wonderful thing on that first Christmas. Their faith was confident and sure. May we have the confidence of a child that angels indeed brought the greatest news ever. May we find joy in looking at our ornaments, whether angels or spaceships, and may those ornaments remind us of the reason for this Christmas joy.

“Late on a sleepy, star-spangled night,
those angels peeled back the sky just like you would tear open a sparkling Christmas present.
Then, with light and joy pouring out of heaven like water through a broken dam, they began to shout and sing the message that baby Jesus had been born.
The world had a savior!
The angels called it ‘Good News,’
and it was.”

—Larry Libby

“Lo” is Good

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My husband always finds it funny that we spend hours baking and preparing treats for the holidays. We spend time eating all those sweet treats…usually to excess. Then suddenly it is January and we are all worried about the holiday pounds that have appeared out of nowhere….(well maybe out of our fridge and into our mouth).

Today I figured I would check out the scale so that I might either be impressed to keep it off or depressed to take some weight off. (Like that is going to happen these next few weeks!!)

When I stepped on the scale I was pleasantly surprised. The only thing it told me was “Lo”. I have decided this scale is a wonderful scale. I did go purchase new batteries for it, but part of me really wants to just leave the old ones in till after the holidays have come and gone.

You have no idea how good it is for your esteem to find your scale telling you your weight is “Lo”. At least I thought it was great.

This past weekend we attended grandparents’ day at my grandson’s school. As we were standing in line with my grandson I overheard the best conversation ever. Two fellow first graders were looking at a drawing one of them had done. The drawing resembled and apple with a head; and a couple sticks coming out of it. The conversation kind of went as follows:

1st boy: “What is that?”
2nd boy: “My grandma.”
1st boy: “hahahahaha…..your grandma?”
2nd boy: “Yea….she’s fat.”  (this was said very matter of factly)

I love that little boy. It did not seem to matter to him if his grandma resembled an apple. It was a great reminder that children see with eyes of love and that is a great lesson for us all.

That child looked deeper than his grandma’s shape. He looked at the love they shared for each other and the beauty of that love.

That being said……I really don’t want my grandson drawing me as an apple shape!  I think it is time to go put those batteries in that scale…..

I’m in shape….
round is a shape.
Unknown

My favorite exercise
is a cross between a lunge and a crunch….
I call it lunch.

Anonymous

 

 

Joy

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Last weekend we had a good taste of winter.  It was the type of weather that had schools getting out early, canceled events, canceled church services and late starts for schools on Monday.

I used to be a fan of that type of weather but that was a long……very long time ago. It was, however, good weather to finally motivate me to put up the Christmas tree and the ornaments. There is something about the wind howling, the snow flying by the window and the fire warmly burning in the woodstove that energizes me to decorate for the holidays.

There is a joy to this season. There is a joy in bringing out the familiar decorations and placing them about the house. So many memories are wrapped up in those decorations. Some are from when our parents were young and they have now ended up on our tree.

Those special ornaments have a way of ending up way near the top of the tree. I figure that way they are safe from the hands of small grandchildren. I am hoping that someday my grandkids will help me decorate the tree. I think that would be a very memorable experience!

I enjoy the decorating; but the joy of this season runs so much deeper than the surface stuff. I love the promise of this season that was given two thousand years ago. I love the fact that, that promise never changes. The Hope that was born at that time has never failed me yet and I trust He never will.

I pray that same joy and hope for all of you. I pray that while you prepare for this season there is a real deep river of joy that runs through your life. There are struggles that will come and go but the promise remains constant.

If this season finds you in the middle of a storm….the wind howling and trouble all around, may you find peace…..may you be blessed and may joy find you.

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”
Hamilton Wright Mabie  

 

 

 

 

In Sickness and Health

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In answer to those who are wondering if I have dropped off the face of the earth……Nope!  I have just been spending time in the hospital getting over fevers of 100-103 and dizziness, achiness and pretty much feeling miserable.

Sooo,,,,,,this is just a very short message to let you all know that I am going to be out of blogging commission for a bit as I recover from West Nile. I am discovering that West Nile takes a lot out of a person and makes me exhausted.

Please bear with me and I will eventually get to reading posts and writing them.

“Every sickness has an alien quality,
a feeling of invasion and loss of control
that is evident in the language we use about it.”

― Siri Hustvedt,

Endings and Beginnings

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There are some events in life that are bittersweet. Farm sales are one of those events. There is the excitement of attending a good sale, but there is also the fact that farm sales can be intensely personal for those doing the selling.

What might look like a jumble of tools and machinery to a bystander can really be pieces of equipment that contain an amazing amount of memories for the family selling those items.

Last weekend my husband and I attended the farm sale of his cousin.  Some of the reason we went, was so my husband could take a trip down memory lane..and some of the reason was we felt it was important to be there for family.

My husband did enjoy wandering through the barn and the grove. He also did a lot of reminiscing when he was looking over the older tractors. He recalled helping his uncle when it was baling time and the old H was the tractor pressed into service for that task.

 

It was fun to visit with the family and catch up on where the kids were at and which grandkids belonged to who.

It truly was a bittersweet day, as this farm place had been in the family for a very long time. Seeing the equipment sold and knowing that soon this family would not have any relatives living on this farm spoke of endings.

The day of the sale also spoke of beginnings. Beginnings for the new couple that will be moving there and starting traditions of their own. Beginnings of new dreams with new people and new events.

In thinking about it…..it really isn’t an ending at all….it is just turning the page to a new chapter.  The land will still be farmed. A family will live in the big old farm house. Eventually children will run across the yard and search for kittens in the barn in the spring. It will not be an ending at all….it will just be a different kind of same.

There is nothing permanent except change.
–  Heraclitus

 

 

 

Building Relationships

Lake Okoboji

Last week was a busy week but such a good week. I love days that include time spent building relationships with those around me.

We attended an ice cream social with my in-laws and then we had the honor of attending their birthday party that was held, at the assisted living facility where they live, for those with August birthdays.

Friday saw us having supper with friends. It was wonderful grilling burgers, making s’mores and just relaxing around the fire pit. You can discuss a lot of topics while gazing into those dancing flames.

We spent time solving the world’s problems….not that the world will take our advice..but I thought we had some pretty good solutions. We caught up on the lives of our families, laughed about crazy things we had done in our youth and compared notes on a variety of things.

We capped our week off with a day at Lake Okoboji. Our oldest son and his family spent the weekend there. For some reason their entire summer had gone by without having a family time away. It was a blessing to share a day with them and I am so grateful they let us crash their vacation.

My sister and her husband graciously took us for a long boat ride around the lake and we had fun watching our grandchildren swimming around the boat to cool off.  It still makes me smile thinking about asking my granddaughter if she was a guppy.  She replied quite firmly that she was NOT a guppy but that she was, indeed, a mermaid!

The week was very busy but, oh so rewarding.  I hope that the memories made will last long into my children and grandchildren’s lifetimes. I hope they remember their grandpa and grandma as people who showed up.

I hope that the thought of us brings smiles to the faces of those who know us. I also hope that the thought of these times together makes them long for more of those times.

It reminds me that God longs for relationship with us. He longs to spend time with us. He wants to know our hopes, our dreams and to celebrate special events with us. Relationships with people and with God take time and effort.  It is not easy but is so very worth it.

May this week find you building relationships with those around you. Whether it be in your prayer time, building s’mores, or swimming with a mermaid…take the time for it…you will not be disappointed.

 

 

Our relationships are precious,
valuable treasures from heaven,
and we should handle them carefully,
always looking for ways to build bridges to each other’s hearts.
Victoria Osteen

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/victoria_osteen_708325?src=t_relationships