Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Uncommon Coffee, Common Grounds

A few days ago, Barb, Judy and I, were invited to coffee with our Ethiopian friend, Tsege.

Here is a link if you are interested in reading about my first Ethiopian coffee.

Tsege also invited her friend, Gennet, to join us.

We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast of eggs, injera and kik klicha, made with yellow split peas. I took some fruit kabobs as my contribution to our gathering.

Of course, we had Tsege’s specialty Ethiopian ambasha bread, which she has shared many times with us. A bit later, with our coffee, we had popcorn—a staple almost always included at an Ethiopian coffee.

Gennet reminded us that the purpose of coffee is for women talk. She briefly talked about the sadness about all of the wars of men and the difficulty of starting life in a foreign land. It is impossible to choose a good and bad side. She said, “No one is bad all of the time.” Women just want to protect their families and provide for them. She thinks that it would be a better world if all the leaders were women.

Mostly our conversation was women talk—the same topics that the women in Ethiopia gather to talk about. We talked about children and recipes and shopping and food. Our Ethiopian friends were surprised that Judy’s daughter used a midwife rather than a doctor when she had each of her children. They were very interested that my daughter-in-law used doulas when her children were born. Gennet’s daughter is a medical doctor but she also encourages pregnant women to use a midwife.

Finally we prayed together—for Christian spouses for our children, for health concerns, for those less fortunate, for governments. . . as sisters in Christ, united in spirit.

I love it that our Ethiopian friends know the meanings of their names. Letenasaiye, Tsege’s sister, arrived home from her job as we were about to leave. She lets us call her, Letina. Her name means “servant of the Most High”. Gennet means “paradise” and Tsege means “a young green plant.”

It was fitting that Tsege gave me some rue herb to bring home. She told me that it is healthy and that I should break off a sprig and let it steep in my coffee or tea for several minutes before I drink my beverage. She also told me that it is mentioned in the Bible and sure enough, we found it. And so it is, as I drink my coffee this evening, I meditate on these thoughts.

Most importantly, act justly and love God. But also do not neglect to give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs. from Luke 11:42

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Drum Roll, Please

Happy Birthday to my sweet mother-in-law!
She is beautiful inside and out.
She is ninety-four years old today.

My DIL asked, "Can we get her a parade?"
What a great idea! Wouldn't that be fun!
There would be marching bands, floats,
horses, and large balloons!
I'd be standing and cheering!
Let me tell you about this special woman.

My Mom [by marriage] is Generous
  • Generous in smiles and laughter
  • Generous in forgiveness and kind words

  • Generous in time—always ready to listen and encourage

  • Generous in acceptance and love and affection not only for her children but also for her children-in-law and grandchildren and great grandchildren and friends and pastors and teachers.

  • Generous in praise—for all of those listed above and for any people doing a nice job at church or in the grocery store or those cleaning the apartments.

My Mom is Careful.

  • Careful in her words, in relationships.
  • Careful and attentive to details when reading and listening.

  • Careful and observant and delighted in all things around her—a rock, a bird, a leaf, the color of the sky . . .

  • Careful when preparing food—cutting vegetables in the small pieces.

  • Careful in cleaning—getting every small smidgeon of dirt.

  • Careful and wise when it comes to truth.

  • Careful when bandaging either a literal or a figurative wound.

My Mom is gentle, faithful, effectual and faithful in prayer, forgiving, hopeful, patient, insightful, intelligent, kind and loving. There are just not enough words to describe this woman that I love.

A mother [-in-law] of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. . . She brings good, not harm, all the days of her life. . . She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. Her children [including daughters-in-law] arise and call her blessed. . . ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’”

—from Proverbs 31

Monday, October 26, 2009

Orange you glad for pumpkins!

There are all kinds of affectionate names tagged on little ones. I have recently heard Bugadoo, Chunky Monkey, Munchkin and Sweet Pea. Here are a couple of photos of sweet pumpkins.

The first two precious little guys and their parents are living with us for a few weeks.

I took this next photo a few weeks ago while filling my love tank on grandsons.

This last one is nearly thirty years old of my two sons.

Some things never change.

I had to add one more photo. I am scanning photos for neighbor Mary's slide show and ran across this oldie but goodie. Her Daddy's name is Elmer.

Ready to Partay!

Could be a fashion trend . . . well maybe . . . then again . . . it is just the whole look--including her casual pose with sweater over her arm.

Sarah is not all grown up yet. . . but getting there too quickly for me! It has been awhile since I posted a photo of her. Look here and here.

Sarah is one reason that I love my neighborhood! Sweet, creative, imaginative, cute as all get out, and inventive, she calls out, "Hi Mrs. McDonell!" when she notices me observing her. Last week she and her brother were delivering school orders like the UPS man. I was not quick enough with my camera.

Goodness, she makes me chuckle. I am charmed!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Are the trees clapping their hands?

Is it just me?

Or has the sky been bluer?

The burning bushes redder?

The oranges oranger?

The yellows more prolific?

The trees more glorious?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Now can anyone make them fly?

Friend Rebecca reported that her broom stood so I tried it as well with two brooms . . . and they stood . . . alone.

Just imagine all of the fun that I would miss if I didn't read blogs.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Holy Cow! What fun!

I love posting old photos and found another excuse tonight. These are my two cute Cubby fans from many years ago. Today, while going through some things that belonged to my Dad, I ran across this picture and it brought back some great memories.

I used to be a big Cubs fan along with most of my first hubby's family. It was great fun going to several games each summer. Now don't get me wrong, I would still love for the Cubs to win it all some year. It's just that my second hubby is a Sox fan so now my loyalty is divided or maybe I should say multiplied.

At any rate, this is a photo of 1st hubby's brother and his family at a Cubs game twenty plus years ago. We had some good times going to games with their family.

We cheered for these guys--I think this is Sutcliffe and Sandberg.

Tonight, I had the special opportunity to reminisce a little bit with Hubby Dale's two brothers and SIL, D'Ann. The couple in green and white shirts are the same couple in the Cub's shirts in the above photo.

Yes, we ate at Harry Caray's in Chicago.

D'Ann and I just had to snap a few photos.

Afterwards we walked around on a cool but lovely evening in the theater district and stopped for a few minutes to see Channel 7 News center.

It might be, it could be.... it was! A home run!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sweet Dreams

I am missing tucking two little boys in bed tonight.

The past five days of R & J have been delightful—not to be confused with R & R—which is something entirely different. Our nightly routine included books, drinks, “brush and flush” or as Ryan reminded me sometimes it was “flush and brush”, then a discussion about our Highs, songs, and prayers.

I loved the whole nightly routine but especially the Highs. Here are a few of Ryan’s . . .

On Wednesday, the pirate ship was his High.

At the farm, jumping in the corn was his High.
That was also his High for the next day.

Excuse me a minute, I am going on a tangent . . . I realized this week that I am categorically a beekeepers wife. I noticed that my kids were out of honey. I should have taken some with me but I would have had to check a bag because I cannot carry it on a plane. On arrival, I simply could not buy store bought honey . . . just couldn’t make myself do it. I searched for local honey by looking in the yellow pages and on websites for local beekeepers. Finally I called the local Chamber of Commerce and was given a name to call but that dear beekeeper did not get even enough honey this year for herself so had none to sell but she did know that the farm that I had just visited sold local honey. Thus we returned to the farm the next day after naps.

Another tangent, . . . there are certain times when hubby and I try (usually unsuccessfully) to give each other nonverbal cues to “shut up” “be quiet.” It does seem to me (clear throat) that people are generally not as interested in beekeeping as hubby might think. However, while in the pursuit of fresh local honey, I did have an “aha moment” realizing that I am a believer. How about that? A real beekeepers wife.

At the farm entrance gate, we were recognized and graciously allowed go play again without paying the entrance fee since it was late in the day and thus Ryan had the same High two days in a row.

On Saturday evening after the boys’ mommy and daddy had returned home, Ryan’s High was playing football with Daddy. I did not get any photos of that but it was indoors and very high energy, reminding me of why God gives children to young people.

Where was I? Oh, yes, talking about Highs. Ryan and I usually helped Jacob with articulating his daily High but after we made suggestions, the final choice was his. Consistently, his Highs involved water.

At the children’s museum . . .

With a friend . . .

At another children’s museum . . .

But not when it involved getting his hair washed. His other favorite is anything with wheels.

It could be riding a train . . .

But he was truly in his element when we discovered this huge Thomas Train playset!

My Highs were so many . . . let’s see. Hearing two year old Jacob talk, constantly. One family friend described him as persistent. I definitely agree. At this young age, he knows what he wants or does not want and how to get his point across. I love everything about this little guy—his sweet little paws, his cheeks, his chubby legs, his laugh, his sense of humor and even his mischievousness.

When he wants to do something by himself, he says, “Try it,” softly at first but stretching out the word and with increasing volume and repitition in relation to the degree of help that I want to give.

Jacob knows many letters of the alphabet but if he doesn’t know one, he points to it and says, “Nice try.”

When I sat cross-legged on the floor, Jacob would back up to me and sit in my lap and then I would tickle him a little and he would giggle and giggle and then get up and run away. Soon he would come again, backing up saying, “Again.”

And I love everything about this big guy, too. I love how he loves to pretend.

Listening to Ryan is definitely one of my Highs. He often says an unprompted, “Thank you,” both to me and his little brother. He looks out for his little brother, giving him boosts, finding his toys, reaching things for him in the car. What a sweetie.

Here are a couple of little conversations that I remember.

Ryan came out of his bedroom dressed in jeans.
G’ma: Ryan, it is going to be a pretty warm day. Would you like to wear shorts?
Ryan: No, see this matches. My shirt is blue and my pants are blue. Daddy likes to match. If you wear a red shirt then you wear red and if you wear a blue shirt then you wear blue. There aren’t any blue shorts in my drawer and I need to match. I want to be like Daddy.

I was rinsing out a few straws to use for a “science experiment” because I was not sure if there were any straws in the house. When Ryan asked what I was doing, I told him. He responded, “We recycle, reuse, recycle, reuse.”

Ryan lines his stuffed animals up in front of the toy closet. When “new” toys are rotated in and out of the closet, his animals get moved.
I overheard this little conversation while riding in the car.
Ryan: I just can’t do everything.
Mommy: What are you talking about, Ryan?
Ryan: My animals. I just can’t stay on top of them. I put them back and the next time I look they are messed up. I just can’t stay on top of them.
Mommy: Hmm. I think you are going to have to talk to Daddy about that.

Ryan: Is tomorrow Sunday?
G’Ma: Yes, it is.
Ryan: That is my favorite day!
G’Ma: Is that because you like to go to church?
Ryan: No. It’s because of Sunday night football! I love football! First we move all the furniture to the side of the room. Then me and Daddy watch football and during commercials we play football and we tackle and Daddy tries to make Jacob and me fumble and we throw passes. I looooooooooove Sunday night football!

Last night, Ryan graciously invited me to sleep in his room by his bed.

I am so missing tucking little boys in bed tonight.

Postscript: I woke up Monday morning singing in my head, "Wag the Dog." I will be better soon.