Monthly Archives: August 2012

Some little boys have such a sweet nature that it is almost surprising…especially when they are also a little bit tough guy. That pretty much describes my grand nephew, Matthew. When he was little he used to play fighting ninja on demand. He would try to make sure we all knew not to mess with him, and yet inside this little boy was a very kind heart. He loves to be a helper, especially when it involves his grandma, my sister, Cheryl. Matthew would do anything for her. He loves her so much. And second to her would have to be my mom, his great grandmother, but then, Matthew is a very loving guy, and he thinks he whole family is pretty great.

When Matthew was little…in his ninja days, I fully expected him to be a tough guy, who never showed much emotion, but then came the day that he walked in the door to my mom’s house, saw me sitting in the first chair he came to, and he walked right up to me and gave me a big hug. I was so surprised. It was just such a loving, sweet thing to do…not a tough guy move at all, but it was a Matthew move, as I have since found out.

To me it seemed like Matthew changed from tough guy to loving guy overnight. I’m sure that wasn’t the case, but I don’t see him every day…more like once a week or so. I suppose that in church there is just too much going on to notice the changes, but when he came into Mom’s living room, there were no distractions, and this sweet little boy simply acted on the feelings in his heart. His loving hug for me, his great aunt was such a precious act, and one that has stayed in my heart ever since. Little did he know that his actions that day brought joy into the heart of his work weary great aunt. And even if it meant little more than a hello hug to him, it made my entire day. How awesome that was.

Today, that sweet little boy turns 7 years old…also, unbelievable. I know that as he grows, he will become more and more loving, because it is simply in his nature. Happy birthday Matthew!! I love you very much sweet boy!! Have an awesome day!!

When I first met my niece, Chantel’s second husband to be, I was most impressed with the relationship he had with his own kids. He was a loving and caring dad, and truly cherished the time he got to spend with his children, Keifer and Katie. He seemed like such a kind and gentle man, and it was obvious to me that he was completely gone on Chantel.

When Dave and Chantel were married, her children, Jake and Siara were pretty much without a dad. Her ex-husband had moved to Louisianna, and didn’t have much to do with the kids. Although his parents were somewhat better than he was, they needed a man in their lives to be a real dad to them. Not every stepfather is a good dad, but Dave is an exception. He stepped in and with kindness and love, became the dad that every kid should have.

Chantel and Dave had known and liked each other when they were kids, before each married someone else. So when they ran into each other after their divorces, it was like picking up were they left off. Like childhood sweethearts reuniting to find the true love that they had somehow missed when they were younger, and to find that it is still as strong as it was when they were kids. That happens sometimes. The true love is missed the first time out, but then when the couple runs into each other again, the love is still there and grows again.

Dave has been a great addition to our family, and I have never seen Chantel happier. They have been married now for quite some time, and the family has blended from two into one, with each one feeling new degrees of love and respect for each other. With Siara heading off to college in a few days, I am very thankful that Chantel will have Dave for comfort. She is feeling rather lost at the thought of her girl leaving, and Dave will be a strong source of support when she is feeling down.

Today is Dave’s birthday. Dave we are so happy to have you in our family. Happy birthday!! We love you!!

I was watching a commercial the other day showing some of the new styles for elementary school kids, and older kids too I guess. The big news is that the kids will be wearing leggings with lacy skirts that look like the slips we used to have as a kid. Wild to say the least, but still, they are practical, especially for little girls who don’t care if they bend over and allow the whole world to see clear to China. The leggings under the dress become stylish and practical, especially in the area of modesty.

They also take me back to my own elementary school days, when the girls had to wear dressed. No pants allowed, except for certain special days, like track day or special PE days. Snow days did not fall into this category, however. When it was cold out, we could wear pants under our dresses, but they had to be removed in the hallway and hung up like a coat…now that was modest, right. Pulling up your skirt and pulling down your pants without allowing everyone to see clear to China, was not very easy, and the younger the girls didn’t bother to even try. I’m sure in today’s world, and maybe if our mothers saw how that went, they would have been appalled, but it was just how it was back then.

Many people hate the new styles as they come in, but then as they think about it, they like it or see the advantages at least. Looking at the latest look, I have to say that while it is a bit unorthodox, the little slip over the leggings is cute, and ultra feminine. The girls look quite girly, and he slip has gone from being a slip to being more like a Tutu. Maybe that is why they all want to twirl like ballerinas, and what could be more cool for a little girl than feeling like a ballerina!!

My grandfather and his brother, my Uncle Ted were born 14 years apart. There were, of course, other siblings who were born in between the two brothers. Still, these two brothers would be tied together for years to come…until my Uncle Ted passed away, in fact, because they would marry girls who were sisters. About June 5, 1917, when my Uncle Ted was about 10 years old, my grandfather was drafted into World War I. I’m sure Uncle Ted felt many things…fear and worry for his brother, and yet excitement and wonder over the big adventure his older brother would be having. I’m sure his mother was feeling some of the same things, although I doubt if she was excited at all. A boy of 10 years of age probably doesn’t totally understand the dangers, just the adventure, but a mother totally understands that her baby might not be coming back.

My grandfather did come back from the war, and for a time our world had relative peace, but before all of her sons were out of the necessary age range for the draft, World War II would break out, and another of her sons would be called to fight. Uncle Ted enlisted in the Army on January 28, 1944, and so it came about that my great grandmother would have two sons fight in two separate World Wars. I know many people have had more than one son fight in a war, and I’m sure that would be awfully hard, but equally hard would be the situation where you thought the rest of your sons had dodged a bullet, no pun intended, only to find out that it wasn’t so.

Great Grandma was very proud of her soldiers, as she was of all her children, and to remember their bravery in battle in two wars, they took a number of photos. I don’t know if these were before Uncle Ted went of to war, or later on, but I do know that my grandma was feeling either worry, or relief, because war is a very hard thing on those left at home. Still, my great grandmother sent her boys off to war, and prayed that they would come back home safely, and they both did.

It will always seem strange to me that my grandfather and his brother could have fought in two separate World Wars, but that is exactly what happened. This was something I had not realized until my mom told me. I had wondered since finding this picture, why the uniforms were so different, and now I know. They were brothers who fought in two separate wars, to separate eras almost, and yet, only 14 years apart in age. Sometimes things can change so quickly in our world. We can move from one war to another seemingly overnight. We look back a short way and think, “Wow!! Just a few short years ago, this or that was the reality, and now it’s all changed!”

My grandmother was not a Southern Belle, but I think maybe she could have been. She was a beautiful woman, with a flair that few people possess. I have seen pictures of her and her sisters, or just her, dressed up as a Southern Belle, and I think she might have made a very fine Southern Belle. It’s funny to think that someone could have been maybe living in the wrong time, or that maybe some people could have lived in more than one time. Of course, her life wasn’t too far beyond those times, but it was far enough. And of course, there was also the fact that she didn’t live in the South.

I have often wondered what it would have been like to live in the pre-civil war days. The beautiful gowns, and the lazy days. Of course, I don’t think I would have liked the whole idea of slavery, but if I could have done the lazy days and beautiful gowns without that, I think I might have liked it. In dreams, you can do that whole setting aside the bad parts and still having the good parts, so in my own imagination, I am able to sit on the veranda with a glass of lemonade, a plate of cookies, and wearing a beautiful gown, not having any responsibilities, just parties and visits with friends. But, in reality, I probably would have become very bored with that in no time.

My grandmother was an amazing woman, who raised 9 children, and never drove a car. She stayed at home with the kids, and cooked and cleaned, and raised those 9 children to be responsible, respectable citizens. First, I can’t imagine never driving a car, much less raising 9 kids without driving. I don’t know how she managed that, but that does seem to be a little similar to the Southern Belle type of woman…one who was taken care of, and yet in reality, was the strong, capable mistress of the home…sort of like Scarlett O’Hara’s mother was…beauty with strength mixed in. Yes, I think that describes my grandmother quite well.

No, she wasn’t a Southern Bell, and didn’t live in that era, but she was a beautiful woman, who has grace and strength. She ran her home with authority, and sometimes, with the palm of her hand, and yet she made Grandpa feel like he was king of the castle. They were quite a pair, and while they weren’t rich southern landowners, they were so much richer in so many other ways, that I don’t think they felt like they missed out on one thing.

For a number of years, we went with my father-in-law and the guys in the family, to the Shirley Mountains to cut up downed wood to bring home for firewood. Sometimes the girls got to come with us. When they came, we tried to turn things into an adventure. If you wander around the woods long enough, you are bound to find something that is unusual. Sometimes trees and other plants can take on unusual forms. While exploring the area around where we were working, the kids found a tree that was so totally deformed that it went up a ways and bent straight over and then curved back up again. I suspect that it may have been struck by lightning or maybe the wind partially broke it,  and then persevered to continue growing. It was, to say the least, a very strange sight…and one tough tree.

What happened to it didn’t really matter to my daughters. Corrie and Amy were completely thrilled with this tree. When it swung down to the ground, it came down quite low, and it made the perfect, goofy tree chair. They spend the rest of the day playing around it and having a great time. They liked the tree so much that they wished they could take it home. Of course, we all know that was impossible, so we took a picture of it so they could always remember it. They talked about that tree for quite some time, and have looked in other places we have camped to see if they can find more of them.

Kids can make an imaginary world using lots of things. My girls loved to play house and clubhouse, so having a chair appear out of the middle of a forest, made out of a tree, was very cool to them. It was a like a whole new way to play. They imagined living in the forest, the mountains in the old west, or maybe a tree house. I can’t say as I blamed them for coming up with so many ways to imagine their lives to be. We have all have wanted to live an adventure, and maybe…just for a minute, my girls got to do just that.

My daughters were born 11 months apart. When I went into the hospital to have Amy, Corrie stayed with my sister, Cheryl. Back then, you stayed 3 days in the hospital when you gave birth to a new baby, and that was if you didn’t have a C-Section, which I did not. Also, the little ones couldn’t come into the hospital then. A child had to be 13 years old…no exceptions. It was very hard on those young siblings, especially if they had not been away from their mom’s much. So, Corrie got to wave at me as I looked out the window of my room. Things are much better now, for all concerned.

When I was released from the hospital, we went straight to my sister’s house to pick up Corrie. For a minute, I thought she was mad at me, and maybe she was, but really she was just more interested in the new baby I brought her. She wanted to hold Amy immediately, and really didn’t want to ever give her back. I know that many kids have some jealousy issues when a new baby comes into the picture, but she did not. Corrie was convinced that Amy belonged to her, so just you deal with it!! Of course, if Amy cried…I could just have her back until she got herself calmed down.

The girls were best friends throughout their childhood, and still are today. They seldom fought, but when they did, I have to say, that little sister usually won. I remember Corrie coming out of the bedroom one day to say with tears running down her face, “Amy hit me!!!” I told her to hit her back, to which she screamed, “Nooooooooo!!” I don’t know if she just loved her little sister too much to ever hit her, or if she was totally scared of Amy, which wasn’t a bad plan either, since Amy is very feisty!!

Whatever little fights they had as little kids, really haven’t mattered much, either since their childhood, or during their childhood, because they really loved each other very much. Many babies aren’t too sure of having their older siblings holding them very much, but not Amy. She truly loved her big sister, as you can clearly see. Corrie was gentle and so loving with Amy, and that love was always returned to her in every way. You can just see it on their faces. They just seem to say, “I love my sister!!”

When my brother-in-law, Mike was dating my sister, Caryl, I think he found himself wondering what he had gotten himself into. The very first time he met all of us, we just started in on our normal teasing. I mean, any guy who was going to be a part of this family might just as well get used to being teased, because we love to tease. Mike was a little unsure of us at first, or maybe he was a little shy, I can’t say for sure, but it didn’t take him long to feel comfortable, and then his own teasing side came out to play with a gusto.

Over the years we have found Mike to be a great addition to our family. Yes, he has a great sense of humor, but he is also willing to pitch in whenever we need help with maintenance and building projects. He is very good at designing and building things.  We are very blessed to have husbands in our family who can take care of everything from the cars to the house.  Since joining the family, Mike has built an enclosed porch and deck at my mom’s house, as well as setting up sprinkler systems, and multiple repairs. The money saved by his talents alone is a lot. When we got Mike, you might say that he came with a lot of extras.

Caryl met Mike through his aunt, who was a patient of hers when she was working at the Wyoming Kidney Center, administering dialysis. Sometimes there are true match makers out there. She and Caryl got along so well, and one day she said you just have to meet my nephew. You two are perfect for each other. Although sceptical, Caryl agreed to meet Mike, and the rest…well, the rest is history, as they say.

Our family has been very blessed with the addition of Mike, and not just in the things he can do for us. Mike is a loving son-in-law and brother-in-law, and while he has a great sense of humor and can tease with the best of us, he has a softer side too. He is a kind man who has a giving nature. That is the best kind of person to add to a family…don’t you agree? Happy birthday Mike!! We love you!!

As my niece, Jessi’s wedding approaches, I am reminded of the important responsibility that is placed on the ring bearer and flower girl.  My own girls each had the opportunity to be flower girls, and at another niece, Machelle’s wedding, my two oldest grandchildren would be given the important job of flower girl and ring bearer. Of course to most of the adults the jobs of flower girl and ring bearer are just a cute little addition to the wedding, but to these kids, it is very important. They feel like they are carrying the wedding to a degree. Whether they get nervous and won’t go on, or feel totally uninhibited and dance down the isle, they bring a special flair to the proceedings. No, it doesn’t top the entrance of the bride, but it brings a flair nevertheless, and what is a wedding without the flower girl and ring bearer?

The flower girl and ring bearer are always cute, of course, but when they’re working very hard at being professional, it is even more fun to watch. When Machelle got married, she asked that Christopher and Shai be in her wedding. My girls were pleased and excited, of course, but they also hoped the kids would do well. I remember that feeling from when Corrie and Amy were flower girls…that, and the other feeling Corrie and Amy had…the one that says, “How can they possibly be grown up enough to be doing this already?” It almost brought tears to their eyes a few times.

The kids did great, as most kids do, and they worked very hard to be professional. Christopher held the pillow very carefully, as if he thought it might break, if he didn’t, and Shai dutifully dropped her flower petals a few at a time. We needn’t have worried. They took this very seriously, and listened to the instructions very carefully, and neither is particularly bashful, so walking past the people in the seats by the isle didn’t even affect them. They were on a mission…they had a goal…they had a job to do, and they did it very well. It was the adults who breathed a sigh of relief when that walk down the isle ended.

I think every child should have the opportunity to take part in a wedding. It doesn’t always happen, of course, but when it does, it is always such an adorable moment…whether the child messed up, made us laugh, or performed just perfectly.

Sometimes, in our everyday lives, we forget to notice just how much God has blessed us with our spouses. It isn’t necessarily the big things they do for us, but rather it’s the little things, that make us stop and think of how blessed we are. Sometimes in a marriage, we forget to do the little, helpful things for each other, so when your spouse does something that is such a simple act of kindness and love, it can leave you…almost in awe of this love of your life.

Many of you know that we have been caregivers for Bob’s parents over the last few years, and I would never leave them in a position of having no one to help them. Still, it is a big job, and sometimes, I find myself feeling exhausted. There is no real help for it, as there are only so many hours in the day, and a number of them are required to give them the care they need to continue to stay in their own home.

Bob is usually right there beside me, working to keep them healthy, and many evenings find us sitting in our easy chairs, after getting them to bed, watching television…well, actually, sleeping through the show we are supposed to be watching. Not your typical date night. We used to walk 2 hours a day, but there is little time for that now…and that’s ok. Our time will come around again. This is parent time, and not only is it necessary, it is a very special time in our lives. I suppose some people think of caregiving as a burden, but I think of it as an opportunity to make the quality of life better for my in-laws, and my mom, although she has not needed as much care these days. It is also a time of bonding….of building a relationship that is so mutually blessed, that I feel a bit sorry for those who never have that bonding opportunity with their own parents or in-laws.

Often, with his mother, there is little Bob can do to help, but he shows his appreciation in the little things he does for me. Whether it is cooking dinner, washing the dishes (or helping me wash the dishes), or the many other little things he does for me, just because he knows I am tired, Bob always shows me how much he appreciates me. That means more than any gift he could give, or even places he could take me. He simply understands if I’m too tired to do some things around the house, and he picks up the slack. Love doesn’t manifest itself in any more beautiful way than that…and I couldn’t feel more loved.

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