Happy New Year

New Years 2019

It is hard to imagine that 2019 has already come and gone. I have a feeling I say that every year…..but every year it always does surprise me that another year has come and gone.

This past New Year’s Eve we celebrated; as we always do…with friends. Each year 3 of the couples are in charge of coming up with the evening’s theme, food and games. This year we chose the 20s as we were ringing in the 2020s.

The photo does make me laugh, as our parties are held in our church youth building and alcohol has never been involved. I also have to grin about the candy cigarettes dangling from some mouths. We had candles on the tables that could not be lit, as no one had any matches or lighters…..no one smokes in this group!

Through the night we discovered many new facts about the 20s…..games that were introduced during that time (Yahtzee & Bunco), foods that showed up (Baby Ruth candy bars, Oreos and Red velvet cake), and what people were famous for (I had no idea Corrie Ten Boom was also famous for being the first licensed woman watchmaker during the 20s).

There was lots of laughter and the sharing of stories. The conversation flowed easy, as is normal when friends get together. There are so many memories with this group of people.

Through the years we have shared parties, births of children and grandchildren, deaths of family members, sickness, surgeries, health, weddings, funerals and everything in between. We have shared life and been made better people for that sharing.

The older I get, the more I value friendships. Friends…true friends…get us through life’s hardest moments. Friends know when to help “fix” things and when to sit and listen.

Friends share joys like the joys are theirs and grieve when you grieve. A really good friend allows you to be stupid and doesn’t let you look stupid alone. Friends are family of the heart. This group of people are those type of friends.

May the new year find you with friends. Friends that “stick closer than a brother.” (Prov. 18:24). May you be richly blessed with relationships of the heart and bless those friends in return.

Happy New Year my friends!

 

The greatest gift of life is friendship,
and I have received it.

Women…Special Creations

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I cannot believe how fast the days go by. About the time I think I will sit down and write a post, the day is gone and a new one has started. I am not sure, but that may have something to do with age.

Today I got to sit and rest. (It is Mother’s Day after all.) We had an awesome Mother’s Day message in church this morning and it made me reflect on how blessed I am to know so many great women.received_12067976928340321528788078.jpeg

Among those women; I put my Mom and my Mom in law. These women have given so much of their life for their families. They have paved the way for their children to raise families of their own….families that thrive. I am so grateful to these two women and their sacrifices.

 

screenshot_2019-05-05-20-09-54-1637973479.pngI am also grateful for the other women in my life. My sisters, sisters-in-law, daughters-in-law and my sisters of the heart. These women make life wonderful. They love me, they laugh and cry with me, and they hold me accountable for what I say and do. I cannot imagine life without these women.

On this day that honors Mothers….let’s honor all women. Let’s remember that we are women. We were not made to be men or be like men. We were created to be exactly who we are and we are wonderful creations.

Men may not understand us and that is okay….personally I don’t always understand men and I am married to one and raised three more!

This weekend gals…let’s be comfortable in our own skins. Let’s not try to be someone else or fit their ideals. Let’s be grateful for the gifts we have been given and not worry that we do not have someone else’s gift. Let’s realize that we are enough. We have always been enough and we will always be enough. We were created as Enough!!

I hope you had a blessed day today. I hope you had a chance to celebrate a mom, a wife, a daughter, sister, a woman in your life. I pray you have been enriched knowing those special women who make life good.

Please feel free to leave a message about that special woman in your life. I would love to hear about them.

“When your mother asks,
“Do you want a piece of advice?”
it’s a mere formality.
It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no.
You’re going to get it anyway.”

― Erma Bombeck

Celebrations and Family Ties

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There are times in a person’s life that can get bogged down and overwhelmed with all the busyness and stuff going on…..and then you are gifted with a space of time where you are allowed to be reminded of what is important……relationships.

This past weekend we were gifted with such a weekend. We made the journey to our son and his family’s home to attend grandparent’s day at our grandson’s school, watch his school Christmas program, make cookies, and also see both grandkids’ Sunday School program.

Our Friday started early in the morning so we could drive the four hours to the school and be on time for grandparents day. Once we went to his room we were treated to a tour of the school with our 6 year old grandson as tour guide.

The energy in that school was amazing! Hallways full of children hauling grandparents around to various rooms they had classes in. The music room was a big hit…..I think it might have been the gong hanging on the wall that every kid had to demonstrate for their grandparents.

We journeyed to the art room, science rooms, the library and our grandson also asked if we wanted to see the principal’s office. I asked him if it was a good thing that he knew the way to her office….his response…”Only if you’re bad.” It was not exactly a saintly response and I had to stifle a chuckle on that honest answer!

That evening we were treated to an amazing concert by the K-5th grades. I am pretty sure that when I was a kid we were not that talented…. We got to hear recitations, praises sung, drums made from buckets and garbage cans played in perfect time and kids playing ukuleles.

The fun continued on Saturday as we made Christmas cookies. Three generations, two grandmas, one mom, two grandkids all making cookies makes for lots of fun.

I will admit our cookies may not have had a lot of elegance to them but they did taste good! We knew they tasted good because we had plenty of volunteers for the taste testing job.

While we rolled, cut and baked the guys did some late season yard cleanup. Watching them work outdoors it was hard to believe it was December.

The few days spent with the kids were busy but it was such a good type of busy. We were able to spend time talking with our kids, giving hugs, and fill our laps with grandkids and learn about life from their perspective. It slowed the season down, narrowed our focus to what was important and made us grateful for family and things that hold us together.

I love the fact that small kids are masters of cutting to what is important. They have an artless way of reminding us that life is short and we should cherish the moments we are given. They are honest in their emotions, excited in the wonder of life, and seem not to hold grudges when things don’t go as planned. It makes total sense that the Bible tells us to become like children.

There is a lot to learn from a child and I, for one, am ready for more lessons.

 

43 Life Lessons from Kids.

1. Be grateful for what you can have.
2. Hold hands with those you love.
3. Celebrate the seasons.
4. Make every day the best day ever.
5. Even if it’s not fair you don’t stop trying.
6. Fight for what you believe is right.
7. If you’re bored, find something to do.
8. It’s good to dream.
9. Tell those you love that you love them.
10. Time together matters most.
11. Things don’t have to always be sorted perfectly.
12. Sometimes spontaneous days are the best.
13. Often structured days are needed.
14. Don’t be afraid to speak the truth.
15. Humming and singing can be beautiful.
16. Observe others.
17. Never by afraid to try something new.
18. Sometimes it’s best to just jump.
19. Live fully.
20. Share with others about things you love.
21. You’re never too old to play outside.
22. Forgive and move on.
23. Name calling gets you nowhere.
24. Even if you don’t feel tired, still go to bed.
25. Talk with each other.
26. Imagine all that could be, and not what cannot.
27. Look people in the eye when you talk to them.
28. Laugh.
29. Always say thank you.
30. Little gifts mean a great deal.
31. Wake with a clean slate for the day.
32. Respect your elders.
33. Give things away – don’t hold onto everything.
34. Find out more about people.
35. Make sure to tell others why they matter.
36. Some days you don’t have to make your bed.
37. Run in the rain. Or the snow.
38. Care.
39. Listen to your emotions, but don’t sit in them.
40. Be genuinely interested in others.
41. Don’t give up.
42. Love today.
43. Be free to be you.
Te
d Rubin

 

 

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

 

 

Celebrations and Community

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Last week was a week that was extremely busy with a variety of things to do. My husband and I walked beans, I washed a lot (did I say a lot?) of old pop bottles, we brewed a batch of homemade root beer and I had to make 7 sheet cakes for an anniversary.

The sheet cakes take time and by the end of the day I am tired…but they are kind of fun to make.  There is a lot of satisfaction in seeing them all lined up when they have been baked, frosted and decorated.

These cakes were for a couple in our church who were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. They had decided to celebrate by serving cake to the congregation after the morning service. The last couple years, people in our church are starting to do more of this rather than the traditional open house.

I think it is a really neat idea when someone decides to celebrate their major life events by sharing that special time with the church community. In our area that always includes food of some type. I am not sure if it is a Dutch heritage type of thing or just something we do in the Midwest.

Sharing with the church family creates such an atmosphere of community and fellowship. It is a blessing to watch people in our church basement, eating cake, drinking coffee and juice, and visiting together. The laughter and hugs of people reconnecting is something to see and even better to be a part of.

Watching Psalm 133:1 (How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!) play out before your eyes is truly a wondrous thing. People talking and children running around their parents and grandparents is a beautiful sight.

I think that often we don’t realize how much a smile or hug can impact someone else.  We don’t always see that there are lots of lonely people in the middle of a crowd. It is good to draw others in and encourage them…it is good to make sure everyone feels like they have a part to play in community. Relationships can be messy….but so rewarding.

I have a friend, Jackie, who once told us, “Be the pebble.” I would encourage you to all be the pebble. Toss yourself into the pond of someone’s life. Create some ripples in the lives of those around you. When you do…..watch for the blessing.

 

“I alone cannot change the world,
but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” 

― Mother Teresa

“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” 
― Dorothy DayThe Long Loneliness:
The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthdays and Other Thoughts

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Yesterday I celebrated the 30th anniversary of my 29th birthday……which is just a fancy way of saying I celebrated getting older…though not quite as old as dirt.

You know you are getting older when the days before your birthday are not spent in anticipation of blowing out candles, cakes and parties. I knew I would be spending that day keeping my mom company at the hospital while my dad had a hip replaced.

My sister (one of them) and I went together to spend the time with mom. Once dad was out of the recovery room and in his own room we also got to spend time with him. We pretty much watched him sleep….but that was good because when you sleep you heal (at least that is my theory).

The day actually was really a celebration, just a different kind of celebration……I got to spend a lot of it with my mom, dad and a sister.  My dad came through surgery with flying colors and even got to come home today! Later in the day my sister and I spent some time at Hobby Lobby. That is always a great treat as a person can get ideas for crafting that you would never think of on your own. (I am sure that thought makes my husband sigh deeply, almost painfully)

Once I got back home; my husband and I got ready and headed out to have supper at our local Pizza Ranch. My son had called and wanted to take us out.  We had a great time with him and his girlfriend. I cannot speak for anyone else but I also ate way too much. I have decided it is probably a good thing I do not work in the food industry.

I have been ignoring the fact that my clothes seem to be shrinking (it has to be the clothes!). It is easy to ignore because our bathroom scale has not been working for a long time due to dead batteries. Today I purchased some batteries because I finally acknowledged the fact that just because a person doesn’t know what they weigh; it does not mean they aren’t gaining weight. This is just a really sad fact of life.

It is good to know that we are not defined by our age, weight, or anything else. I am so grateful I am defined only by the love of the God who created me. I am comforted by the fact that when God looks at me, He does not just see the outside of me…..(that fact can also be pretty scary!)

I am also grateful that throughout my life He has gifted me with family who loves me and friends who stand by me. I am indeed wealthy in the things that matter and I am blessed by the people He has put in my life. It makes the passing of years; a journey to be enjoyed.

What are you grateful for and what speaks blessing to you?

“A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)