Grandma-ing

The old signs used to hang on business doorways…”Gone Fishing”.

This is my weekend to hang out a sign..only I am not fishing….I am Gone Grandma-ing. Yup a new term and a great one.

I am finding out that I am not as young as I was when my kids were this age! Good thing there are 2 grandmas to take care of one boy.

I will be back next week but for now my days are occupied with other things.

Children are a gift from the Lord;
They are a reward from Him”
Psalm 127:3

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I’ll See You When I See You…

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The other day my husband was out planting soybeans in the field around the section. I had to take the pickup out there with more seed beans for him. Before I left I told him what I always say when he is out doing fieldwork and has no idea when he will be back…”I’ll see you when I see you….”

As I drove home I started thinking about that farewell saying. I thought about it in connection with the upcoming holiday of Memorial Day or Decoration Day as my Grandma always called it.

I wondered if any moms, dads, sweethearts, wives, sons, daughters and so on used those same words of farewell when sending a loved one off to the military? When they sent those loved ones off in times of war they had no idea when they would see them next, or if they would see them again this side of heaven.

A couple years back my sister and I had the privilege of going to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. We were able to visit the grave of our cousin’s son, Julian, who gave his life for this country.

Not everyone, serving in the military comes back in a flag draped casket. But many do….and my heart hurts for those families who do have to deal with that loss. I pray they know how very grateful this nation and this farm wife is to those who serve and give all.

I also hope that our military men and women know how deeply grateful we are for all who serve and protect us and our values. Their sacrifices, being away from their loved ones, going through hardships for us, humbles me and puts a lump in my throat when I think about it. They are the core of what makes this nation great.

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When my youngest son was in grade school, (many years ago) they held a day to honor the veterans in our community. The photo that was taken that day remains one of my all time favorite photos…..my son with his Grandpa who served in the medic group in the 50’s. He was stationed in Germany and is still so very proud of his service to his country.

I am grateful to the men and women who serve and allow us to not worry. Their service allows us to get up each day and go about daily tasks without fear. Their service lets me ponder on a simple farewell as I leave my husband in the freshly disked soybean field.

For those families who spend Memorial Day at the cemetery putting flowers on the grave of the one who did not come back….you are not forgotten and neither is your loved one. And for those of us who do not stand at a graveside tomorrow and shed tears while the hole in our hearts still bleeds with sorrow….let us not forget….let us remember to say thank you.

Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 KJV

 

I’ll see you when I see you…..
Chicken Grandma

Raining Petals

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The other day I drove past my in-laws home. I should have stopped and taken a picture of their flowering crab tree; but I was in a hurry. The tree was absolutely beautiful that day and loaded with rose-colored flowers……overloaded actually. I made the assumption that I could take a photo when I went to town the next day and had more time…..so I kept driving.

When I stopped the next day; I found the next day was too late. The wind had picked up during the night and many of the flower petals had blown off and lay in drifts on the driveway. The slight breeze was still making it rain petals and we stood and watched as the petals twisted and drifted on the wind, then dropped to join the drift on the driveway.

The day of the “petal drift” was spent with my husband’s siblings; sorting and dividing the lifetime of memories in their parent’s house. There was much laughter and lots of stories told. The good times were discussed and the not so good times were discussed.

We reminisced and also caught up on each other’s lives; as siblings came from other places and other states to help out. It was also heart-warming to see that treasured pieces were going to kids and grandchildren who would also treasure them, and the memories they held.

Much of that day was like the drift of the petals of that flowering crab. The time was taken to enjoy the relationship of family before the wind would blow us too far to be gathered up again.

There are things to be learned from that rose colored petal drift…..life does not stay the same. Overnight things can change and life looks totally different…..not always bad…but different.

There was a beauty to be found in that drift of petals. Like life, it was just a different kind of beauty. Life changes and it is good to look for the “different” beauty to be grasped. Usually that new beauty is not of our own choosing, but is still okay.

There is also the lesson, for me, that I should not always assume that life will not change. There are times when the wind will take what you know and blow it into a totally different shape when you least expect it. That new shape is not always bad…it is just sometimes uncomfortable. For me, it makes me rely on God more than I would if life were going smooth.

In visiting my in-laws in their new apartment in assisted living; I am learning that change can be handled with grace. I am learning that each new place has a joy of it’s own and there is always something new to be learned.

We may drift and we may twist like rose-colored petals in the wind. We may not be sure of where we will land once the breeze lets us go….but we can be sure, we have the choice to enjoy where we land…..and that is a good thing.

For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven: 

Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

Ups and Downs

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Today when I went out to do my chicken chores I received a gift. As I stood by my chicken coop I was serenaded by two different birds.

The first was a Baltimore Oriole. Usually they are hard to spot once the trees have leaves on them. For some reason this bird perched on the top branch where he was easily seen. I was privileged to enjoy his beautiful orange and black feathers while I listened to his song.

When he would pause, there was a Barn Swallow sitting on the electric wires that run to the electric pole on our yard. It appeared that the Swallow was looking directly at me as he sang and gave that certain Barn Swallow clicking sound. Those birds singing, in plain view, were such an unexpected gift.

Last week has been  one of “those weeks”. It was incredibly busy (which is why there was no post!). I have always thought that when one did not have a regular job to go to every day; there would be plenty of time to accomplish everything that needed to get done. Not so!

This past week was spent preparing for two bridal showers; to be held on the same day. (My middle son is getting married this summer!) Tossed in to the shower mix, was time spent making and decorating a cake for a college graduation, a cake for a baptism and cupcakes for a different bridal shower hosted by my aunt for her grandchildren. My husband also tossed in a road trip to check out some farm equipment.

There were plenty of ups and downs during the week. That seems to be the way of life….it can get slightly skewed. Some good mixed with some not so good. I was reminded that I am not in control and that there is peace to be found in trusting that God has a plan.

When those birds showed up this afternoon, it was like a love song straight from the heart of God. I am not sure why I am always surprised that God shows up right when I really need it. I also don’t know why I am surprised at the way He shows up. He has never failed me yet (even though I question constantly).

If you have had a day, a week, a month or perhaps even a year of wondering what God is doing in your life or in the lives of those you love….fear not….He DOES have a plan and it is in His time…..I am counting on that promise!

May you see a glimmer of His goodness in the midst of trials. May you feel His love and protection in the beauty of a sunrise or in the song of a Baltimore Oriole. He is there….sometimes we just have to be still and listen.  May you have a blessed week.

“Don’t focus on what is not here….
focus on the blessings God has put in front of you
and enjoy the day.”

Sandy G.

 

Birthdays and Bonding

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This coming weekend my mom will be celebrating her 84th birthday. For the last 4 years, we have been celebrating that day with a little “girl” time. Today was that day, and we went to a nearby town to have either our fingernails or our toenails done.

The group pictured above consists of my mom, my aunt, two sisters, one sister-in-law, and myself. When we started out doing this four years ago we never realized it would become a tradition…but it has…and it is a wonderful tradition.

We all live within 20 miles of each other, but for some reason do not seem to get together nearly as often as we should. It is good that there are special days to celebrate so that events like these happen.

At this particular outing we caught up with news about a nephew who is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, learned that a couple pregnant nieces are doing good, a bridal shower was planned and the state of the world (especially our little niche of it) was discussed.

We also added food and nail polish to the mix of fun. My aunt hosted us for lunch, we had our nails done (with design for me of course!), and finished our day off with a snack at the ice cream capitol of the world…Well’s Blue Bunny in LeMars. (where the photo was taken by a very nice bystander).

There is something about gathering with the women in your family that is so very special. There is always lots of reminiscing, lots of catching up on each other’s families, lots of laughter, some eye-rolling over various stories, and generally a great time.

I am finding out that gathering with my family is essential. They hold me accountable, they love me unconditionally, they are always there for me and they make the word mentor come to mind.

I know that if I have anything going on in my life, joyful or otherwise, these are the women I can count on to watch my back. They will laugh with me, (and at me!), they will cry with me and they will pray with and for me. They are a true gift and a blessing.

My prayer is that they all know how very much they mean to me. My prayer also is that each of you has someone like this in your life. Someone who can bless you and who you can bless in return.

Take some time this weekend to connect with those family members that you haven’t spoken with in a while. Reminisce about the things that bond you together. Share your hopes for the future. It will be time well-spent and you will never regret having spent that time together. I am still grinning thinking about our bonding time!

The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches,
but to reveal to him his own.
Benjamin Disraeli

Family is a lot of things;
it’s an anchor in stormy waters and
a blessing throughout the journey.
Sometimes rocky,
but always beautiful,
the relationships shared between family members are
the perfectly imperfect depiction of unconditional love.
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Changes

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The weather in our part of the country has definitely taken a turn for the better. Just a few short weeks ago we were getting weekly blizzards. Yes….that is weekly….pretty much three weekends in a row we had blizzards that sent us snowfall in the double digits.

In an attempt to find the beauty in those snowfalls a few weeks ago I set out with my camera to intentionally find it. As I roamed around on the west side of our house I spotted the garden gate propped against the house. I love those vintage garden gates. I also loved the mirror image of the lines from that gate, on the side of our home.

For some reason, the transition from winter to spring was very abrupt this year. There was no gentleness about it. It seemed that one day we had a blizzard and the next we had warmer weather that melted the snow in a day.

Life can be like that quick change in the seasons. One day your children are small….and in the blink of an eye they have grown and are all getting married. Another blink and you are attending the baptism of a grandchild.

The other weekend we had the great joy of attending one of those baptisms for a grandson. It was a wonderful weekend with family. Seeing four generation all gathered for that celebration was a blessing. (I would have put a photo here but waited to long to get permission! I like to let the parents decide if it is okay.)

It was a great reminder that life keeps changing. Seeing those four generations was a reminder of faithfulness and love. I have a feeling my little grandson has no idea of what a blessing that day was….yet.

In years to come I hope he comes to treasure the stories of that day. I pray it will always be a reminder to him of the love of family and friends and the faithfulness of generations.

I pray that when he is older and looks in the mirror; he sees a glimpse of those generations that came to celebrate. I hope that he realizes that life and seasons may change quickly, but some things will remain constant…..the love and blessing of family.

The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren
is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life,
but rather a legacy of character and faith.
Billy Graham
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/billy_graham_626354

Pink Blankets and Lessons Learned

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Sometimes things just do not go quite like you think they are going to when you start out. This morning I decided I would wash the bedding that I took home from my in-laws home. At present we are sorting through household items, as they are in the process of down-sizing.

My husband was gone for the day; so I thought it would be a good time to keep the wash machine running. The first items I put in, were two vellux blankets. I am not even sure they still make these type of blankets, but they were really soft and quite pretty.

I did read the tag to make sure I laundered them correctly. The tag told me to wash in warm water and tumble dry on low. (I am, if nothing else, a direction reader.) The tag also reminded a person that they needed to be washed a minimum of twice a year!

I put those blankets in the machine and got it started. I then proceeded to start housecleaning in my kitchen cupboards while the machine did its’ thing. Later I could hear the wash machine had made it through all the cycles and it was time to transfer them over to the dryer.

Imagine my surprise when I lifted that washer lid…..it looked like a giant rodent had been set loose in the machine with those blankets. Instead of blankets, I had a washer full of pink fluff that faintly strongly resembled that blow-in attic insulation…..only pink.

After a moment of stunned, brain-numbing disbelief, I started to laugh. I am not really sure why; but there was really nothing else to do! Mumbling to myself, I went in search of a garbage bag and headed back to the laundry room.

You would not believe how long it takes to scoop out two blankets worth of fluff from a washing machine. You would also not believe how that pink fluff tends to spread into every part of your home.

I did have to take a photo of the fluff and send it to my sister-in-law with the rather vague caption, “Vellux blankets do not age well when not used.” She called to tell me she was laughing so hard she about cried when she saw the photo of that bag of fluff.

I did learn a lesson from the bag of fluff….maybe not such a profound lesson…but a lesson none-the-less. I learned that we should use our good stuff because it might not age well and we may as well enjoy it while we can.

It also made me think that, perhaps, we should not wait till the time is “just right” to do the things we have on our bucket list. By the time it is “just right” life could have shredded!

I learned that sometimes life does not go as planned. Sometimes, it starts out looking marvelous, goes through a “wet” patch, and falls apart. I also learned it does no good to fret about it…it is much better for the attitude to find the funny side (if possible) and look for the silver lining (there usually is one, though it might be buried pretty deep).

Fortunately, a shredded blanket is not the end of the world. Sometimes it can be a great reminder to treasure the things we have, treasure the people we know and to not put items and people on a shelf to be enjoyed later.

It is a reminder to live the life we have now. We cannot go back and change things that have happened…..I cannot go back and turn that fluff back into a beautiful pink blanket….but I can find the “funny” in it….I can believe that life is good and trust that God’s got it….whatever “it” is.

 

Accept what is,
let go of what was,
have faith in what will be
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