Thursday, July 30, 2009

Brrr! It's cold but we've got towels.

Imagine this, the older kids in this family were past the early childhood years when Splash Parks started appearing in our local area parks. I was pretty sure that Morgan would think that she was too grown up for this park; still I hoped that she would enjoy seeing it. It is pretty hard to impress Hale so I braced myself for his disdain at something so babyish.

Guess what? They liked it!

Since my Boston experience, I can’t seem to just walk by sculptures or stand and look at them. I have to photograph as well. This one invites children to climb and hang and play! As charming as it is, real flesh and blood gives that exceptional dimension that really makes me smile!

This little guy's mind is always working.

I love when Seamus talks because I am often surprised by what he has to say.

After he had been playing in the water for quite some time, I heard Seamus quietly talking to himself articulating his discovery, “Now I know why it is called a Splash Park!”

Hale’s face tells all. Like here . . .

And here . . .

And here!

Morgan is at such a fun stage—right smack between little girl and grown up girl.

I am so glad that she can still be both.

I hope she will stay this way for a long time!

Cozied up! Perfect end to a great but cold day!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Strutting Like a Winner

My dear friend, Ellie, gave me a little glass pitcher probably ten years ago. I keep it handy and use it frequently. In the gift was this sweet little hand written note. It still makes me smile so I replace it in the pitcher after every use.

Last night we had a spontaneous salad supper (just bring what you have) with a few good friends. It was wonderful—so yummy— and such good company.

Just for fun, I ran outside to see if there were any flowers blooming that I could cut and use on the table. I found these.

The stems were kind of thin and didn’t work so well in my little pitcher so I cut a little ground cover to fill in. BTW I use this ground cover to fill in little arrangements from early spring until it gets covered with snow. I didn’t plant it and I do not know what it is called. It was here when we moved thirteen years ago so I can take no credit whatsoever but I do appreciate it!

These red and white placemats are my regular standbys. They don’t hold a stain and go right from the washing machine to the table with no ironing. They don’t fade and show their age and I just like them.

The bee napkin rings are another matter. Bob and I received them as a wedding gift. At that time Bob was on a sabbatical from beekeeping and so I put them away. I discovered them about six to eight years ago—loved them and have used them often ever since. The problem is there are only four so I usually alternate with other napkin rings on every other plate or use them in center pieces or on the bread basket. I have been on a hunt for more of these for years!

Tonight when hubby called me, I must have answered with unusual cheerfulness because he wondered what I was so happy about. I almost forgot until he mentioned it. Earlier in the evening, I meandered over to EBay and typed in “bee napkin rings” and found these! I was so excited! Without any hesitation, I clicked Buy It Now and Pay Now. They will arrive in less than a week!

Yes sir, I am a happy woman!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Peddling the Prairie Path and Praising the Lord!

Earlier in the summer, I emailed some of my active friends that enjoy a challenge—I asked if anyone would be interested in a reasonably paced 30ish mile bike ride. For some time now, I have wanted to ride the Wheaton, Geneva, Batavia Triangle on the Prairie Path.

I did not get many responses except from one person that wondered, “Are you crazy?“

So I leaned on grandson, thirteen-year-old Grif writing him a letter while he was a camp, handpicking him because I thought he would be patient with me if I could not keep up with his speed.

I received a message on the answering machine when he returned, “You know what you asked me in the letter you sent? The answer is, ‘Yes’. Set it up with my mom and me.”

Today hubby would be in town and not traveling. I wanted to have someone on call in case of an emergency—not expecting any but trying to be a good cautious grandma. Pride goes before a fall. With about a mile left on our ride, I went over a curb. After quickly getting up, I thanked God for His grace . . . over and over.

Grif more than proved his value as my biking partner by his conversations, patience and encouragement and his aptitude at putting the chain back on my bike.

Grif led, I followed. I walked up a few hills that Grif peddled. We both felt the thrill of speed as we went down hills.

We shared a nice lunch together at Shane's Deli in Wheaton.

We had beautiful scenery along a river and lakes. We enjoyed seeing birds and chipmunks, squirrels and rabbits.

Later we had a Dairy Queen treat!

We got lost—just a bit but found our way again. We had the sun and the wind in our face and we persevered uphill for a very long stretch. Tomorrow we will both be able to sit comfortably again. I fell but I got up again.

We covered lots of miles!

I have a couple of battle scars on my face that will heal soon but we also have grins on our faces.

God’s good gifts overwhelm me!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What do these stones mean?

Who would have guessed? Certainly not me! Sculptures and/or statues and/or memorials delighted, amused, charmed, challenged, impressed, amazed, saddened and inspired me.

I walked and walked Boston for the past four days, “on-call” but not needed by my hubby as he ran a products exhibition at a company convention.

After studying the map, I began at the Public Gardens and Boston Commons. What a beautiful beginning to my visit. I tried to take everything in—the flowers, the statue of George Washington, and the people.

I was surprised by the “Make Way for Ducklings” sculptures. They are just too cute—all different and so very appropriate in the setting, just delightful!

Moving on across the street to the Commons, I couldn’t help but stop at the wading pool and watch the uninhibited children playing and splashing in the wading pool. It made me miss my grandkids and wish that I had at least one with me.

After awhile I noticed the frogs. They made me chuckle.

Wandering a bit further I saw the Tadpole Playground.

Oh, my goodness, I could just imagine grandson Jacob playing here,

Or Seamus!

There was a dedication inscription and I imagined some dear parents donating to this play area in remembrance of their little child. I was glad for this unselfish gift.

At first, I had passed the Boston statues without reading but soon I became intrigued and went back because I wanted to read every one. Everywhere I went, I heard stories of Paul Revere. . .

and Ben Franklin.

I stopped and read and studied visually the family memorial to the Potato Famine. Remembering the reason for the large Irish population in Boston was moving.

Then at the Museum of Fine Arts, I was intrigued and impressed by the sheer size of the two bronze baby heads titled, “Day” (eyes open) and “Night” (eyes closed) by Spanish painter, Antonio Lopez Garcia. I felt an affinity to him after I read that he did these sculptures in response to his grandchildren.

And talking about size, while at Faneuil Hall, a young couple asked me to take their photo by the statue of Mayor Kevin White and then offered to take mine. I wish I had taken a moment to study the statue and get in step, and in a different position. Oh well. He must have been greatly admired to be remembered in such large dimensions! Apparently he was a very busy man.

I also loved the other large statue not far away of Coach Red Auerbach of the Boston Celtics. He was a larger than life Bostonian figure.

This is the Steaming Teapot. Be careful about tour guides because my trolley guide said that it was the location of the Boston Tea Party and then as everyone went to one side of the bus for a photo, he told us, “Just kidding.” The 200 pound Steaming Kettle was cast in 1873 and put in place over a teashop and has been there so long that it is a historical marker but one of little significance. It is fun to see and it does really steam continuously from the building's boiler room. It happens to be at the location of a Starbuck’s Coffee Shop.

I took a tour of Harvard University in Cambridge. This statue of John Harvard is somewhat interesting because of what it is not. It is referred to as "the statue of three lies." Despite what the plaque on the statue says, Harvard didn't actually found Harvard but was named after him because he bequeathed his library to the school. The school was started in 1636, not 1638. Even worse, that's not actually John Harvard! No portraits were ever found of Harvard, so Daniel Chester French (as in the Lincoln Memorial) used the son of a loved professor as his model.

This statue is of Phillips Brooks and stands right by Trinity Church. Though better known for writing, “O Little town of Bethlehem”, he also delivered the sermon at President Lincoln's funeral. I was not drawn to the statue by the way it looked but because of the inscription. Perhaps this is a man that had his priorities correct, Preacher of the Word of God. Lover of Mankind.

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:30

I have never been to a holocaust museum or memorial. I overlooked this memorial the first time I walked the Freedom Walk and thankfully had time to return to it on my last day. The steam rises around you as you stand in each of the six towers, a sure and subtle reminder of gas chambers. I read the etchings on each wall and imagined the pain.

Etched in the granite walkway of the Boston holocaust memorial is the word, “Remember” which seems to be wearing off.

Today as I was thinking of what I had seen, I was reminded of this scripture passage from
Joshua 4:4-7.

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, "Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' Tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever."