More Than a Quilt

 

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Last week my husband and I had the fun of watching our granddaughter graduate from pre-school. (My husband doesn’t quite understand the concept of graduation at that age but I have assured him that it definitely is a thing now.)20190523_17422132531125.jpg

I was able to give my granddaughter her quilt that I had made from blue jeans and flannel shirts from her dad, uncles, grandpa, grandma, great grandpas and great grandmas. I am not sure she totally understood the memories in that quilt but she did enjoy using it to sit on outside and play with her brother.

It did make me smile inside and out just watching them sit on that quilt playing. It made all the hours of making it worthwhile.

I love the thought that new memories will be made sitting on top of all those old memories. I love the fact the fabric in that quilt has a history. Maybe someday, if that quilt holds up, my granddaughter will want to know what some of those memories are. If and when she is ready to ask I am going to be more than willing to answer!

When she decides to ask, I would love to tell her about her Great-Grandpa who served in the military and came back home to farm and raise a family. I want her to know her Great Grandma who raised five children and then went on to cook at the local Christian high school for many years.

It would be good for her to know that her other Great-Grandpa wanted to go to the military but could not; due to stepping on a pitchfork as a child. It would be good for her to know that he worked hard and took care of the family he loved.

She should also know about the Great Grandma who sewed pretty much all the clothing her children wore. I would love to point out the pieces of flannel in the quilt that came from baby blankets that were sewn by that same Great Grandma for the grandsons who would become her dad and uncles.

I want her to know  what her Grandpa did for a living and what he did for fun. I am hoping she wants to know what her dad was like as a boy….the things he enjoyed and the things he did not. It would be a wonderful thing for her to know about her two uncles and how they looked up to her dad, their older brother.

There is so much history in that one small quilt. We are much like that quilt….there is so much history in all of our lives if we just stop and think about it. Good history, sad history, and all the stuff in between.

It is good to pass on those stories for the next generations. It is good for them to have a connection to what makes up their past. If it takes a quilt to pass on those stories….it is a wonderful thing.

It will be a wonderful thing to see all the new memories made on that quilt. Memories that someday can be passed on to the next generation of this family.

Each day of our lives
we make deposits
in the memory banks
of our children.
Charles R. Swindoll

 

Wedding Memories

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It has been nearly a week since my middle son was married. For some reason it has been a week that has flown by. We have spent time “slothing” this week and also trying to catch up on things that did not get done in the weeks before the wedding.

There has also been time to reflect on last weekend. So many of those memories just bring a smile to my face. Whenever I see a photo posted on Facebook to do with the wedding it brings the joy right back.

I am going to share a few of my favorite photos of last weekend with you. Most of them I did not even take as I was too busy being mom of the groom. So credit for these goes to pretty much everyone else. To be honest I am not sure who took which photos!

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I loved the fact that this wedding brought family from Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Texas and other parts of Iowa. For my husbands side of the family it was the first time in a long time that this many of my nieces and nephews were able to be in the same place at the same time. Only one niece was missing, as she was on a mission trip to Korah, Etheopia. (The three guys in tuxes belong to me!) This is the standard photo taken of this bunch. Ever since they were born we have been lining them up according to age. (They did make the comment that the guys on the left seemed to have more hair that the guys on the right!)

It was such a blessing to watch the generations come together before, during and after the wedding. Our grandchildren connecting with their Great Grandparents was something that made this Grandma’s heart full.

Watching my husband care for our youngest grandson was truly a joy. He has a gift for dealing with our grandchildren….maybe that is because he has been growing older but not quite growing up?

I also must confess I did enjoy the mother/son dance. They let me choose the song and my choice was, “I Hope You Dance.”  It has long been my hope and prayer for my children.

The smiles on the faces of my children and their families was a gift that was precious indeed.

 

20180714_185706.jpgWhile all these photos are precious I truly loved the one that someone took of the newlyweds as they watched the video of their lives.

I love the way my new daughter-in-law rests her head on my sons’ shoulder and he has his arm around her

It speaks of trust…… It speaks of protection…..It speaks of love.

My prayer and my hope is that they never forget that feeling. That through the ups and downs that come with being married and navigating life together….this moment comes back and is fresh in their minds through all the “stuff”.

I pray their hearts and minds stay faithful and that they look to the example of their grandparents and parents. It was an incredible witness at the wedding that there were four sets of grandparents and two sets of parents in attendance…..all still married to the spouse of their youth. It was a witness to the perseverance of love and trust through all the things that life throws at you.

May this weekend find you remembering the joy of your youth. May you remember what it was that you loved about your spouse when you first met them. May the “bumps” in the road of life smooth out as those memories come to life again.  And above all…..I Hope You Dance!

“I Hope You Dance”

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance, I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’
Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’

Don’t let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance, I hope you dance
I hope you dance, I hope you dance

(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along
Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone)

 

 

 

 

 

Wonderful Busy Days

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I had really intended to write a blog post this past Monday…and when that day passed I thought sure Tuesday would produce a piece of writing….nope. Then came Wednesday and now it is Thursday and time to actually sit down and get this done!

My only excuse for taking this long is that last week was really busy due to son #2 getting married Saturday night. It is also due to the fact that my husband declared Monday to be a day of “sloth”. (You have no idea how I enjoyed that day of sloth!!)

I confess we “slothed” like the best of them. Other than returning tuxes and a roaster we did absolutely nothing……and it was wonderful.

Last week we kind of hit the ground running. Tuesday was spent retrieving the cupcakes that I had baked a few weeks earlier and stored in a large walk in freezer that a friend offered. (She is a gem!) I also went to the grocery store to get those last minute groceries that I needed to have for the rehearsal supper Friday night.

Wednesday, with help, 400 cupcakes were decorated and stored in 11 tubs. Of course we had to sample the various frostings that were used and also the extra cupcakes that we ended up with. We had 5 varieties: Lemon Gluten Free, Red Velvet, White Almond Raspberry Filled and some unfilled, Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownie, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. No one became ill and they were declared a success.

 

Thursday was spent delivering cupcakes and several rustic crates for decoration, to the event center. We also loaded our pickup with chairs, a gas grill, paper products, condiments and so on to take to a brand new shed on the home place of the bride’s sister. (This was in preparation for the rehearsal supper).  Time was also spent setting up and a bit of decorating was done there.

I found out later that our new daughter–in-law had texted our son, her groom, commenting on our loaded pickup…..yes….we resembled a cross between hoarders and the Beverly Hillbillies minus grandma sitting on a rocking chair on the top. In our defense it was a 40 minute trip one way from our house to our destination, and we wanted to make that trip count……we have become master packers!

The Friday schedule included decorating the church and the event center. Then it was 20180713_141636.jpgtime to get our nails done. It was a lot of fun spending time with the bride, bridesmaids, flowergirls, personal attendants and the moms. I then headed back home to get the baked potatoes in the oven for the rehearsal supper, pack the food and get ready for rehearsal and the supper to follow. I am eternally grateful for siblings who came and helped us as we hosted the supper. They grilled, set out food and kept things running smoothly.

Saturday dawned cooler and clear…..a perfect day for a wedding. Hair appointments were first thing in the morning, then helping with the children (all the nieces and nephews of the bride and groom) who would be ring bearers and flower girls. Photos were taken and before we knew it; it was time for the main event….the wedding and reception that followed.

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It was a sweet time of gathering and celebrating. There was so much packed into that week that we are still processing all the details. It would seem that it would be hard to take it all in, but we found if we took an hour at a time we really had time to enjoy every part of the week.

I will be posting more and reflecting on that oh so sweet time……once I do a bit more “slothing” and get those thoughts in order.

(Oh….I also need to let you know that I did not take many of these photos. They were taken by various people who attended….I was much too busy being mom of the groom!)

“For some reason when you are busy…
you are never long enough where you are…
and never arrive soon enough at where you need to be.”
~Faye~CG~

Lessons Learned From Vacation

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Two steps forward and one step back…..that phrase seems to really explain the last couple days. I had the wonderful experience of escaping the cold of an Iowa winter the last week. The upside…it was so much fun. The down side……I am now playing catch up on everything from housework and laundry to writing and reading blogs!

Last week, along with a daughter-in-law, 1 sister, 2 sisters-in-law, 2 nieces and 1 cousin, I was able to cross an item off my “bucket list”. I went on a cruise. The planning for this event started last summer already, after these same family members read one of my posts where I mentioned that if you really wanted; you could start down the road and end up anywhere.

One sister in law quizzed me as to where I would go……my answer was someplace warm with water and a beach. Another sister in law immediately began researching things like cruises as they were all inclusive and would fit our budgets. Our husbands seemed to have zero desire to go on a cruise so we invited all the women in our family. Eight of us chose to go and this past week we sailed from New Orleans, LA.

We had stops at Cozumel and Progresso (Yucatan Peninsula). We had opportunities to shop, spend time on the beach and just have a great time together. I did learn and relearn some things on this vacation…

I learned that it is good to laugh till you can’t breathe. It is good to smile at everyone you meet and be open to learning about those who serve your meals, clean your rooms and answer your many questions. People are people no matter what color or religion and generally will reciprocate when treated with respect.

I learned that most of us have the same fears, hopes and dreams. I learned (from watching some groups) that drinking to much will turn you into idiots and make you obnoxious.(It might also make you toss your lunch on the beach..it puzzled me to think a person would do that to themselves!) I found that playing Bingo, while fun, will not make you rich.

I learned that caramelized cheesecake is included on the breakfast menu and does, indeed taste delicious at that time of morning. I found that trying the “rare and interesting” appetizers on the menu should sometimes just be something you keep wondering about instead of ordering.

Another thing, I found was the non-drowsy Dramamine is indeed your friend on a cruise….especially when going through a storm. The storm, while making for a bumpy ride, was also amazing.  I also learned that sunrises and sunsets are some of the most beautiful sights that God has gifted us with.

IMG_5218 Sunset in the Yucatan Pennisula

I found that the simple pleasure of wading in the surf and searching for sea shells is truly one of the great pleasures in life. I learned that the warmth of the sun, combined with a good book and the company of people you love is really all you need most of the time.

I also found that getting back home to the rest of those you love is a wonderful thing. It is a joyful thing to know someone is there waiting for you.

We came back to single digits for temperatures, snowstorms and all the things that make up day to day living in the Midwest…… some good and some not so fun.

I cannot speak for the rest of the gals that went, but I came back with a great appreciation for the relaxation of vacation and a greater appreciation for all those things that make up my day to day life here at home. It is good to go…but it is even better to come back.

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs
and returns home to find it.
George A. Moore

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/george_a_moore_205186?src=t_travel

 

 

 

Winter Has Arrived on Time

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This year winter seems to have actually taken a look at the calendar and agreed to abide by what it says. We had unseasonably warm weather right up until December 21. On that day, the first day of winter, the temperature dropped, the wind picked up and it started to snow.

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I really like my seasons to work out in such a tidy fashion…..usually they do not. I will have to confess that I really did hope for a white Christmas. A gentle white Christmas snow….not the horizontal type that sometimes seems to visit our part of the country….and this snow totally fit my idea of a Christmas season snowfall.

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There is beauty in the still, whiteness that snow seems to bring. There is an odd excitement in the “bite” that is in the air as I go outside to take care of the girls. Maybe it is just a primitive reaction to the elements…I am not totally sure what it is, but at this point in the year I am okay with it. I have a feeling that come the middle of February that excitement is going to be long gone!

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I enjoy looking out my patio door and seeing the smoke rise from the chimney on the old milk house. My husband hangs out there in the winter and gets it cozy warm by stoking up a wood stove. I think that milk house is his version of a man cave.

A few years ago my husband took our grandson out to the milk house with him. At that time our grandson was 3. My husband offered him peanuts in the shell. James politely refused. My husband shelled the peanuts for him thinking that might be the issue. Again….a polite refusal. My husband tried one more time and finally James told him that he did not like peanuts…..monkeys ate peanuts.

Later that year our son was out for a walk with James and they were finding acorns. My son asked him where they came from and was told from trees.  Then our son asked him where peanuts came from…..he received a very enthusiastic answer on that one. He was told, “Peanuts come from Grandpa!”

I begin to wonder if I love those first snowfalls because they bring back those fun memories of holidays with the family. Time spent with loved ones can be some of the best times. Family is truly a gift.

Those first snowfalls bring a quietness and stillness to the end of a busy day. Standing outside after locking the girls in for the night, feeling the sting of the cold on my face, and smelling the fresh winter air brings a calm to my soul.

There is a hush in that space of time in between day and night…..a silence broken only by the call of a screech owl in the grove, the lonely sounding cry of geese, the rustle of my chickens settling in for the night,  and the distant sound of a train whistle.

It is a wonderful time for reflection. It is a time to realize that there is an order to this life and to the seasons. They arrive at the perfect time every year. There is comfort in that fact and it brings a contentment to the soul to know that someone bigger than me orchestrates this life.

May you be blessed this Christmas season and may you be a blessing to those around you. May your soul find stillness and contentment in the busyness and may you have time to stand outside and let the beauty seep deep into your bones.

Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments,
embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour.
John Boswell

 

 

 

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

 

 

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