Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Un-birthday Celebrations and Simple Joys

Life goes on and the beat just gets better every day. And this past weekend was like the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae.

Our grandddaughter Alyssa and her husband Aaron were in town from Camp Pendleton as Aaron had almost 3 weeks leave from the Marines. With them was the ever-popular almost 2-year old Kylie, our great-granddaughter. Son Craig and his wife Gigi decided that since Kylie's first birthday happened in CA as will her second.
And since none of us can get down there to celebrate with her in October, an "un-birthday" party was held at our son's home nearby. It didn't matter to Kylie that we called it an "un-birthday" affair -- presents, ice cream and cupcakes work any day of the year when you're not yet 2!

Being the proud mom, grandma, and great-grandma, I can't resist sharing pictures with you:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Downsizing -- Exactly What Does It Mean?

The word "downsizing" kept popping into my mind today.  I couldn't get it to stay away.  While it was popping in and out, I was sorting through the mountain of books that we have collected over the years.  Not quite the height of Mt. Everest but seemingly close when you compare the relative space we have for storing them and the number of books we have. 

Downsizing over the last decades has meant quietly removing employees from top spots in an effort to cut overhead.  Downsizing could relate to weight loss in some circles.  Downsizing has definitely come to mean to the baby boomers what we want to do before somebody has to help us do it because we've already helped someone else do it and it isn't any fun.  Maybe we've helped grandparents, parents, siblings tote out years of accumulation of household goods and memories as life requires a move to a smaller space.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Memories in Transition

Some 27 years ago our family moved from Tennessee to Oregon.  I'd never lived anywhere other than Nashville, and moving over 2,000 miles away from all I'd ever know was somewhat daunting yet exciting.  We had everything packed into a Ryder truck which towed our pickup, and I followed behind with a 12-year old son, two dogs, houseplants and food.  Oh, yes, the cat was in the Ryder truck with dad.  It was an adventure in the making.

We made the decision to drive so our son could experience our country from Tennessee to Oregon.  It was also a first for me because I'd never traveled farther west than parts of Texas.  A book I'm reading, Time Is a River by Mary Alice Monroe, reminded me today of my first feelings as we drew nearer to Portland where we'd put down our roots. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Painful News

Not all news is good.  We all have learned that.  Somehow though we forget and suddenly we're caught offguard much like we were this week.  A dear friend has been diagnosed with breast cancer, so agressive a double mastectomy is recommended.  Another friend is said to be undergoing cancer surgery soon.  Yet another friend is near the end of his battle with a tumor similar to that which took the life Sen. Edward (Ted) Kennedy.

The latter we knew was coming sooner or later, and yet the news that things were "nearing the end of the road" came as shocking.  The other two bits of news came at us right out of left field, so to speak.  Painful news no matter how we sorted it out.  And what do we do with such news?  How do we help those who must be suffering the agonies of coping with staggering diagnoses and the loss of one's mate of 43 years?

In my world, there is only one way.  Turn to the Master of all.  Lay my prayers at His feet and petition His grace, comfort, and perhaps healing in some instances.  "And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."  ~~ Matthew 28:20.  Such comfort to know that He is always there, even to the last breath we take.  This is all I can offer right now -- my prayers, my faith, my hope, and this Scripture.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Little Ones

We were out today, husband and I, doing some errands here and there.  One place we stopped to do some shopping was replete with young moms with their kiddos of varying ages.  Some were toddlers, some were school age, and some were those always cute babies.  I commented several times, "Oh, look at that cutie!"  Or perhaps I'd smile and say hello to one of them.  Eventually, my husband commented that he bet I'd never seen an ugly infant or toddler before in my life.  I said I hadn't.

Well, this got me to thinking about babies in general.  How could something God created be anything but sweet, cute and cuddly when created in this amazingly tiny human form?  Granted some infants in the animal kingdom aren't all that cute.  But let's remember that we're talking our babies, the ones we women carry around for nine months and breath life into, and then swaddle, bathe, and change diaper, after diaper, after diaper!  OK, so they're not always cute, sweet and cuddly.  I'll admit that.

I was remembering the only child I had, a son now 38.  I'll never forget looking into those sky blue eyes the first time with that shock of black hair going in all directons.  I knew instantly I'd never seen and would never see again a more beatiful baby.  Did this child really come from me?  Could he be so perfect when I'm not?  And then I remembered that everything touched by God during creation is perfect at that moment.  It's the human part of us that takes it from perfect to imperfect in a variety of ways. 

For today let's think on the perfection of infants, their sweetness, their cuteness and their cuddlieness (is that a word?).  Enjoy your memories!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Several times today the word "blessings" came to mind.  My husband thanked God for the many blessings given us each day.  It came to mind later in the morning as I pondered the 29 years of marriage we've enjoyed filled with many blessings -- our children, grandchildren, a great-grandchild -- to mention just a few of our favorite blessings.  And then this afternoon as I looked beyond the walls of home to the beautiful summer day filled with sunlight, blue skies, the colors of flowers, the hint of ripening tomatoes.

Then I listened to the evening news filled once again with a suicide bombing in Iraq as our troops pack up and leave for home.  Once again, I thought about blessings.  They are innumerable, past my ability to count.  In our country of freedom and liberty, we are blessed every moment that we live out our dreams, plan our futures, help our children to grow and learn, watch our grandchildren being born, thinking of what the future holds for them.

We can shop at will, where we want to and spend hard-earned money.  If we want to eat out, we can without fear of reprisal or danger.  If we want to send our daughters to school along with our sons, we can.  No one tells us what to read, what news station to watch, what borders we can or cannot cross.  We are blessed with so, and we take so much for granted. 

Pause to think what blessings have come your way today . . . then pause to say thanks and to remember those whose day wasn't blessed at all.