Monday, November 29, 2010

A Grand Week

First of all, I was so thrilled and excited to see our newest baby grand! I had not seen her for almost five months. She is such a joy.

It was a full week with so many special events. A real highlight was Ryan’s soccer game but it was a rainy day and the pictures are poor.

The boys and I visited Ganyard Hill Farm. We had such a good time.

Feeding the goats . . .

Loving the bunny . . .

and of course the tractor wagon ride.

The boys were so excited to see bee hives on the wagon ride and insisted that I photograph them. Grandpa Mac was not present but not forgotten.

Jacob was not so sure about the tunnel slide for himself. But he was a good grand marshall

. . . sending Ryan and reminding me to take the photos.

Ryan milked the cow—just to see how it worked.

Both boys enjoyed feeding the cows.

It is much longer than it seems that I had two sons that loved the farm. This photo of Brad and Andy was taken in the fall of 1982, I think.

How their daddy, Grandpa Dale would have loved to see his two grandsons playing in the corn.

Ryan and Jacob liked sitting so high up on the tractor.

Just like their Uncle Brad and Daddy, more than 25 years ago.

Those are happy memories for me.

We said good bye to the farm and headed home.

Another day, Andy and Amy rested from their daily work and enjoyed a family day.

We went hiking in a nearby forest preserve.

We found beautiful leaves and watched a daddy long legs spider.

We picnicked.

Jacob may have been the first to discover these small but grand rapids.

The kids played.

Daddy rescued a toy excavator.

Then we discovered a log cabin.

I held my breath as everyone safely crossed over our grand canyon.

The next day, our big boy went back to kindergarten.

Jacob and Allie and I played at a park

on the swings

Allie showed me her tricks.

I was impressed.

After school, we raked a few leaves.

And Ryan and Jacob hit some grand slams.

We made time for one last treat.

I have a grand total of 213 pictures taken during this time. I want to remember it all.

Here is my last grand finale of a photo.

Grandkids—such an appropriate word.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I am reviewing . . . the situation

Yikes! It is tiny!
Ouch! Our house has not sold.
Gracious! It is going up so fast!

What were we thinking!?

  • We wanted to downsize.
  • We’ve talked about it for seven years.
  • We don’t need a big house.

    Why now?

    • Because we want to move in before hubby retires
    • Because we found a lot and house plan that we like
      . . . I think.
    • We thought our house was selling—it was not.

    Yuk! I don’t like our new address.
    It is one of those funky ones with a 1N in it.
    We won’t be in the Wheaton Park District. Sob.

    Great! Lower utilities because . . .

    • Energy efficient windows
    • Energy efficient furnace
    • Energy efficient hot water heater
    • Good insulation
    • And so much less house . . . oh no!

Whew! Smaller house + smaller tax rate = lower taxes

Yay! We will be much closer to church.
That is huge to us!

This hurts. I already have withdrawal pains!
There are no restaurants close by.
The grocery store is ten minutes away
Walgreens is seven minutes away.

Hot Diggity! We will live nearer our family.
It is right by a beautiful bike path.

Very very sad, big, big tears . . .
I will not live close to my walking partner.
I just don’t know if I can do this.

Boo Hoo! I will miss our neighbors
We’ll miss our trees and the park
We will miss the convenience of . . . pretty much everything.

Okay, I can live with this . . . No more mowing lawn
or shoveling snow except that sometimes I like to do that.

Sweet! Meet and Greet Your New Neighbors
A gathering of others building in the same subdivision
There are all ages—not just old people like us
Some young families, some younger couples,
We like them—all of them.

Genuinely, I praise God for this abundant blessing.
I do not take it lightly.
It is a gift and I am grateful.

Reviewing pros and cons is not very productive.
Gladly, I will meditate on some much deeper spiritual truths.

Psalm 127:1
Unless the LORD builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.

Proverbs 24:3-4
By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;

Luke 6:48
They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.

Luke 14:28
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?

2 Corinthians 5:1
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Hebrews 3:4
For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Watching, Learning, Loving and Celebrating Mom

Mom shared that she has been meditating on a Bible verse from Acts 17:28. For in him we live and move and have our being.

I like this amplified explanation of the verse.

[God] originally formed us, and continually sustains us. No words can better express our constant dependence on God. He is the original fountain of life, and he upholds us each moment. . .

There is no idea of dependence more striking than that we owe to him the ability to perform the slightest motion. . .

That we live at all is his gift; that we have power to move is his gift; and our continued and prolonged existence is his gift also.

Thus, Paul traces our dependence on him from the lowest pulsation of life to the highest powers of action and of continued existence. It would be impossible to express in more emphatic language our entire dependence on God. ~
Albert Barnes

Saturday, we celebrated her 95th birthday. Sweet Veda Rowell, mother of five, grandma of twelve and great grandmother of twenty. Where do I fit in? She is my dear mother-in-law—more than that—she has been Mom to me since my wedding in August of 1971. My husband, her son, Dale died more than twenty years ago but nothing changed in our relationship. She is one of God’s most precious blessings.

A great deal of planning went into this event. Joy did almost all of the hard labor—planning, cooking, and organizing.

Joy asked all of the family to contribute to a book for Mom/Grandma and then she nagged until she got all of the responses and photos and spent many hours putting it all together into a creative and beautiful book.

Some of the rest of us contributed in smaller ways. D’Ann and I made the centerpieces and bought the paper products for the tables.

Others brought breads and muffins.

Nicole, Jackson, Lilly and I enjoyed making a banner.

Notice that Jackson made some tally marks to visually demonstrate the number 95.

He gave the sign some distinction also by adding the Roman numeral for Grandma’s age.

Lilly presented Grandma with a poster that she made. Hannah helped her finish it once we arrived.

Paul and D’Ann ordered and picked up cakes.

Joy cooked all of the food for a brunch with the immediate family and organized a soup and salad supper for the extended family.

It was a very special day of honoring Mom and expressing our love for her.

Not everyone was able to come to the celebration but all of her children and in-laws were there and half of the grandchildren and their spouses and half of the great grands.

Judy wisely got her family picture taken with Grandma before the brunch began.

Mom’s living brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law all came except for one that is hospitalized. Aunt Carol came all the way from Texas.

Aunt Ina celebrated her 95th birthday in June.

Many nieces, nephews, her pastor of many years and other church friends came as well.

Several of the great grandchildren—second cousins—had never met before.

However, there was an immediate rapport.

Within a minute of meeting each other, they were playing together.

They especially had fun at the park . . .

Hannah and Lilly, both six year olds have missing teeth.

We anxiously monitored Grandma's exercise room.

The grands had a great time at the local pumpkin farm . . .

Feeding the goats . . .

But particularly holding the cats and kittens . . .


Jackson with the Halloween black cat



Caleb and Jack

A little kitten this time.

The pumpkin farm turned out to be a great photo op spot

Brad and Lilly

Sarah and Jonathan

I claim this family.

Anne, Geoff and family

With all of the excitement of the day, several needed naps but I only noticed Lilly actually succumbing.

After Mom told me her verse, a song kept ringing through my head. The real words and the thoughts behind them are not fitting. However, I could not get this song to leave me so I altered the words to make them applicable.

Every move you make
Every step you take,
Every joy you create
Every breath you take
He’s been watching you.

Every kindness you share
Every wrong you bear
Every smile you wear
Showing how you care,
He’s been watching you.

Every single day
Every word you say
Every game you play
Every day you stay,
We’ve never seen you stray.
You always light our way.
We’ve been watching you.

Thank you, Mom, for your example. We have received an extraordinary gift.

We love you!

Happy Birthday and many more!