Quiet Sunday Dawn

August 31, 2008

Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10

Gunny’s Birthday

August 28, 2008

Happy Birthday to our first-born, Gunny.  The one God gave us to “practice” on so that we could raise our second child, DD, to be “perfect.”  That’s her story and she’s sticking to it.  If you are very still and listen closely, I think you can probably hear them both laughing.

When Gunny was growing up:

— He had a good head for business at a very young age.  Like the time I offered him a nickel for every dandelion he dug up in the strip of yard between the backyard fence and a farmers field.  He just about bankrupted me!  I finally had to make him come in wayyyy after dark to go to bed.  Apparently he realized before I did what a great little money-making deal I had made him!

— He did lots of things that got him stitches.  Not because he was clumsy, but because he did everything all out — no brakes need apply!

— He loved going camping with his dad in Grandma and Grandpa’s woods. 

One time, Hubby cut his finger while preparing their meal over the campfire, so asked little Gunny to walk up the lane to the house and ask Grandma for a band-aid.  Next thing Hubby knew here came Grandma, Grandpa and Gunny down the lane in Grandpa’s pick-up.  He was surprised they hadn’t just given Gunny the band-aid, but he understood why his parents had decided they’d better check on him when they told him that when asked how badly his daddy was hurt, Gunny said he didn’t know because he couldn’t see the cut for all the blood! 

When Gunny and Hubby would come home from one of these camping weekends, I remember them and all their equipment as absolutely covered with grime and smelling of smoke.  But they always had big smiles on their faces — great memories for them both.

— He always loved math (which would make me wonder if he was adopted, if I hadn’t actually “been there” when he was born!).  He told me just a few years ago that he loves doing math problems like I love doing Sudoku’s!  Now that is just wrong — no one should see math as fun!

— As a teenager, Gunny made good grades and had friends who were good kids, but he had trouble “remembering” curfews.  One time he was wayyyyy late getting home, but felt that he shouldn’t be grounded for it, because he had saved a man’s life! 

The story goes, while driving past a K-Mart, (note: already well past his curfew) he saw a man lying in the parking lot so he pulled in and found that the man was only semi-concious, and was quickly being covered by the snow that had started to fall.  It appeared the man had been badly beaten.  He said he shook the man to rouse him and then helped him into his car and took him to a nearby all-night filling station to call the police. 

His argument against being grounded was that him being late had probably saved the man’s life!  There was just enough truth to that to make it hard for us to be too mad at him for being late.  (DD always did say that HE was the one who should have gotten a law degree.  This episode lends some weight to that idea. He had done a masterful job of “arguing his case.”)

Gunny was only 17 when he graduated from high school and he tried college, but he just didn’t know for sure what he wanted to study at the time, so about 6 months after he turned 18, he enlisted in the Marines. 

The Marines were a good career choice for Gunny.  He has been to almost every country in the world during the years he served on ships.  Then, he spent many years as a Quality Control Inspector of shops that repaired helicopter parts, and then becoming a Gunnery Sergeant and supervising those same shops, staffed by crews of young Marines.  And, in the Marines, your Gunny is similar to your Mama, only without the cookies and milk.  He not only was expected to supervise their work hours, but also be their counselor in all areas of their lives.  He would sometimes need to help them learn to keep a checkbook and just generally manage their money, and he sometimes was a marriage counselor for very young, very fragile marriages, made worse by frequent separations.  He loved his job, and was very good at it.

Before Gunny retired from the Marines, he got his degree in business and math, the hard way — taking courses in between working full-time and raising his family with Dilly.  One advantage to being an older student, he always said, was that he knew himself better than when he was younger and now knew exactly what courses and degree would fit his interests and aptitude, and best prepare him for his next “career.” 

So, three years ago, he retired from the Marines at 38 years old.  That made his mom and dad just a little grumpy, because WE hadn’t retired yet, so it just didn’t seem right that he got to go first!

On the home front, when Gunny was transferred from the west coast to the east coast (North Carolina) in the early 90’s, he met Dilly and they were married about a year later.  They have three children — Sam who is 20, married to a young Marine, and mother to a darling baby boy; Nikki who is 14 and just starting high school; and Jay, who is starting 8th grade.  They now live in Oklahoma because of Gunny’s new career as Director of Corporate Safety with a major roofing manufacturer.

So, there you have it — a few verbal “snapshots” from our son’s first 41 years.

Happy Birthday, Gunny.  We love you.  And may you have many more healthy, happy years, filled with more great memories.


Point of interest:  You probably ought to think about putting your mom “in the home” when she puts candles on your cake that say “Birthday Happy!”  Although, in her defense, this was last year, so maybe she’s gotten sharper since then. 

Again, I hear the distinct sound of distant laughter.

Playing with Editing Tools

August 26, 2008

Wellll, I am having trouble grasping the concepts of Photoshop Elements.  The good news is that I’m going to take a Photoshop class at the end of September, so maybe there’s hope.

But, in the meantime, I played around with some pictures I’ve taken recently, in the editing software that came with the camera.  This is kind of addictive for a new photographer!

On a boat trip around the lake:

And as the sun started to go down:

Are your eyes crossed yet?  I hope not.  This is just too fun.

Vote Your Conscience

August 24, 2008

I have to admit that neither of the candidates running for President would be my first choice.  But, I do believe that Christians should vote, after prayerful consideration. 

The way I look at it is that everything we are given, including our right to vote, is ultimately a gift from God, and as with all His gifts to us, I believe He expects us to use that gift, in any way we can, to His glory.

For those of us who are pro-life, Vicki at Windows to my Soul in my blog roll has some recent posts on the subject of abortion that are very interesting.

Pray and then vote.  God will take care of the rest.

Emerging Talents

August 24, 2008

Coco is going into 5th grade, and is “officially” starting volleyball, a game that we already know she is very good at.

Lulu is very good at gymnastics and has just been invited to join a traveling team.


In fact, Coco and Lulu are both just very athletic.

Now, when it comes to Mimi, she is really too young to have demonstrated specific athletic abilities yet, but I wonder if her abilities might be taking her in another direction — like dance.

Maybe ballet?  Nooo, I’m thinkin’ more like hip-hop!  Or, now that I look at these more closely, maybe kung fu!

They are really fun kids who we always enjoy spending time with.  And Mimi is especially good at keeping us entertained, in case you can’t tell.

Kids + Water = Fun

August 23, 2008

One afternoon when DD’s girls were here, I took them to a nearby park where there is one of those “water features” which allows kids to get wet but not drown, and also there was lots of playground equipment.  Perfect!  Not only would the girls enjoy it but it would give me a chance to experiment with using the sports mode on my camera, to capture water.  What I found out is — it’s harder than it looks!!

But here’s what I got:

Coco being “girly” and squealing at the cold water.

Lulu acting “cool” — like, “This isn’t cold!”

And Mimi just being Mimi.

I don’t know who had the idea for this new, improved version of the old-fashioned running through the sprinkler, but my hat’s off to them.  This is a great idea.

But after a while there are just so many times even kids enjoy running through the ring of water, or standing under the bucket that fills up with water and then dumps it on your head.

So then there was some playing on the playground, mostly by Mimi.

But, the older girls did do some sliding on the slide and swinging on the swings.

They all said they enjoyed the park.  But, at home they had fun with a different kind of water.

Whenever there was a “break in the action,” i.e., downtime, during their visit, the girls’ default was to fish.  You’ll notice they’re wearing dresses in some of these pictures.  That’s because they came home from church and immediately went out to fish!

Here’s Papa and Coco discussing her fishing “strategy.”

Fishing in your church clothes gives it a little more “formal” look, don’t you think? (Papa, being not quite as enthusiastic, did take the time to change his clothes!)


Lulu didn’t let church clothes keep her from really getting into it!

Papa is always there to supervise and help.

And when they have some success, he’s there, of course, to hold the slimmy catch, so that the “fisher” can admire the “fishee” without having to touch it herself.  That’s what Papa’s are for, isn’t it?

Mimi uses a Barbie pole with a small piece of wood attached to it, instead of a lure, but is perfectly happy just spending time “casting” and then reeling in her piece of wood.

And while I was taking pictures of the fishing, I took this picture that I kind of like at the water’s edge.


Kids+ Water = Fun (and a chance for Nana to practice taking pictures!)

The Zoo — Short On Animals, Long on Fun!

August 22, 2008


DD’s three daughters were here for a few days earlier this week.  We had alot of fun and I got some cute pictures, so thought I would share them.

“Auntie Linda” and I took them to the Children’s Zoo on Monday.  Unfortunately, we didn’t remember that they had had a fire during the winter, and there were alot of exhibits that haven’t been totally restored yet, so we didn’t see alot of the regular zoo animals. (We had free admission tickets — maybe this was the reason why!)

One of the first things that caught the girls’ interest after we arrived was a young lady who did face painting.  All three of the girls liked the idea of having their faces painted, or so we thought.

I thought the “face painter” was very talented.   I was really impressed with the results because I had previously thought of face painting as just a flower on a cheek.  You can see, she was a real artist.

Lulu went first:

Then it was Mimi’s turn. 

But she only got as far as the white stuff on her eyelids, and she was sure she didn’t want to do this! So the young lady patiently wiped it off.  And Mimi was relieved.

So, then it was Coco’s turn.

Hey, that looked pretty neat, so Mimi was reconsidering.

But, she wasn’t even in the chair long enough this time for me to get a picture.  Face painting just didn’t feel right for her today, even though she really liked the way her sister’s looked!

But Mimi found other things at the zoo that were more interesting to her:

Like the dog house in the “farm” area:

And riding a very short horse, with Lulu as her “side kick.”

And, at the end of the ride, even doing her own version of “Look Ma, no hands!”

She enjoyed looking at bugs through a microscope.

And she wondered how they would look from the other end of the microscope!

Then, she and her sister’s rode the carousel.  They didn’t take it nearly as seriously as she thought they should, especially Lulu!


Here are some pictures I did get of “animals” we saw.  (I wasn’t good at taking pictures of the monkey’s, reptiles and birds that were behind wire.  I haven’t figured out how to do that well yet.)

A chipmunk:

Verrry friendly, active sea lions:

And a peacock and her baby. (Oops. Linda reminded me — it’s a peaHEN!)

We ended our visit in the petting area.  We didn’t have any tokens left to buy the food you could feed to the goats.  Of course, I could have gone and bought more tokens, but when I saw how the goats overwhelmed little kids who had food, I was perfectly happy to just have the girls brush them. Brushes were furnished.

When Mimi sat down to take the sand out of her shoes, she became a point of interest to this cutie.  He may have been wondering if she was edible. (These little guys were allll about eating!)

We had a great day at the zoo, even without seeing many “real” zoo animals. (Has a chipmunk ever been officially “in a zoo?”) But, we had a good time anyway.

Disclaimer:  No children or animals were physically hurt during the recording of these events.  Although there was a little emotional pain when neither Nana nor Auntie Linda could come up with one last coin to buy food for those hungry little goats!

A great day for all of us.

A Story about Dishes

August 21, 2008

Chapter One:  The Accident

When Hubby was about two years old, the story goes, he was running around the dinner table in the family farmhouse which his mother had just set with her best china.  In a split second when she looked away, he lost his balance, grabbed hold of the tablecloth, and fell.  As he fell, he pulled the tablecloth and the dishes off of the table.   He wasn’t hurt, but most of the dishes were broken.  

The dishes had been a lovely set of ivory china with tiny flowers and a slim gold band around the edge that Hubby’s Mom and Dad had received as a wedding gift. 

I can’t imagine how upset Mom must have been, but because she was such a had-her-priorities-straight lady, I’m sure her disappointment was secondary to her thankfulness that her toddler wasn’t hurt.

Chapter Two:  We Receive A Single Piece of China 

It shows the special sentiment Mom attached to that set of china that she carefully wrapped and stored away the few pieces that were unbroken.  After she was gone, we found the box of five remaining dishes and divided them up among her five children as keepsakes.

Chapter Three:  Our Single Piece of China Moves “Home”

Fast forward from “the accident” approximately forty years to when Hubby’s Mom and Dad had passed away and Hubby and I became the next generation to live in the family farmhouse.

We already had an old oak dining room set that fit the farmhouse dining room perfectly in size as well as style, but the wall above the buffet looked bare — with the high ceilings, there was lots of unadorned wall up there. 

So, Hubby, who, when he has the time and inclination, is a great woodworker, made a plate rack to hang on the wall above the buffet (doing an amazing job of copyng a picture of one I found in a magazine).  The plate rack looked perfect there, but I didn’t own a pretty matching set of china plates to display on it (it held eight — four each on two shelves).  So, I just displayed a variety of old plates I had collected, which included our “keepsake” plate from Mom’s china.

Chapter Four:  A Memorial Day Cook Out 

After my Daddy died, Mama moved to some senior apartments just a couple miles from where we now lived on Hubby’s family farm.  She was very happy there and not only made some new friends, but several of her old friends had moved there too.

One Memorial Day, Hubby and I didn’t have any plans, so we invited Mama and her friends over for a cook-out.

One of Mama’s new friends was Opal who lived in the apartment across from her.  Opal was a lovely lady who was a widow and didn’t have any children.  She and Mama had become fast friends who watched out for each other.  (The time Mama had a stroke, Opal was the one who called for help as soon as she didn’t get a response at Mama’s door, saving Mama’s life.)

We ate our cook-out food in the dining room.  When having a cook-out for elderly people, eating outdoors, where it’s “buggy” and hot and the ground is uneven, isn’t the best idea, so we made our little get-together a “half cook-out.”  We cooked out — but we ate in. 

Chapter Five:  Our Single Piece of China Gets Noticed

So, while we were eating in the dining room, Opal pointed to our special plate on the plate rack and asked if that was part of a set.  I told her it wasn’t and related the old story about what had happened to the rest of the set. 

Opal said, “Well, I have a set of china stored away that are very similar to that plate and I don’t plan on ever using them again, so I’ll give them to you, if you’d like to have them.”  I was stunned.  I had always admired that plate and invisioned how lovely the whole set must have been.  Now, here was a lady I barely knew offering us a similar set of the 50 year old china!  

Hubby and I verbally tripped all over each other saying versions of, “Oh, no.  We couldn’t possibly let you give them to us . . .”   But Opal was insistent.  She told Hubby to come over to pick them up sometime next week.

After everyone left and we had time to talk about Opal’s offer, we decided that when she had time to think about it she might regret her impulsive offer so we would just not say any more about it, guessing that she might not mention it again either.

We were wrong.  She called a few days later and asked when Hubby was coming to pick up the china.  So, Hubby went to get them. 

It felt like a mini-Christmas morning when Hubby returned with the gift.  So much fun to unwrap each piece.   It was actually twelve complete place settings that were almost exactly like our “keepsake.”   They were in perfect condition.  And Opal wasn’t done giving — she called a few days later and told Hubby to come over again and pick up a box of serving pieces that she had forgotten she had.  What a wonderful, unexpected gift the whole set was!

Chapter Six:  A Gift Enjoyed

Over the next few years, Opal became a family friend and visited our home often.  And she always told us when she visited how much she enjoyed seeing her china used and treasured.  Opal died a few years later, but I always remembered her when I looked at that china.  

For our almost 20 years in the farmhouse we proudly displayed and loved using Opal’s china and I always enjoyed telling the sad-turned-to-glad story of both the sets of china that had “lived” in that home.

Chapter Seven:  The Gift Passes to a New Generation

When we moved from the farmhouse to a smaller house a few years ago, we were no longer going to have room for our large, many-pieces old dining room set that had been “home” for Opal’s china, so we also weren’t sure what to do with the china.  

Our solution was that we asked DD, who had always loved the china, if she would like to have it.  The timing was perfect.  DD and her family had just moved into a large home with a formal dining room and she had a beautiful, new dining room set– with an EMPTY china cabinet.  She gladly accepted, and left me a voice mail not too long after she received it that I wish I had saved.  She said the china was one of the best gifts she had ever received — not only because they were lovely and looked perfect in her china cabinet, but also because she had fond memories of our friend, Opal.  

I know Opal would be delighted that the old china that she loved but no longer had a use for, is still being used, displayed and cherished by yet another generation. 

And, I know Hubby’s Mom would be delighted that a set of china like the ones she loved and lost, are still a keepsake in our family.

We Knew Him When He Was Short (relatively)

August 20, 2008

Isn’t it fun when someone you “know” somehow receives national or international attention?

I suppose this is a little like everyone wanting to claim any teensy weensy bit of Irish heritage they have on St. Patrick’s Day.  When someone has some fame, we all want to say “we knew him when,” don’t we?

We are experiencing this right now with the Olympics.  Lloy Ball, the setter on the USA men’s volleyball team went to the same grade school as our children.  He was a year behind DD, so we did know him when he was relatively “little” (although, as I remember, he was always tall for his class).  His family go to a sister church of our church, so we know them.  But, I’m not sure Lloy would know who I was if I saw him somewhere and spoke.  He does know DD though, so I would probably shout up to him (he’s 6’8″!) “I’M DD’S MOTHER!”

So, while Lloy won’t be coming to dinner at our house any time soon, and the Christmas card he surely sent us last year must have gotten lost in the mail, I do take personal pride in seeing him play well, and I picture his parents and how proud they must be.

I just watched Lloy and his team beat Serbia in a really well-fought battle on both sides.  The USA team now moves into the semi-finals.  Go U.S.A.!!!

I love the Olympics.

Something New for Me in the Blogging World

August 19, 2008

Recently, Barb at Half Past Kissin’ Time kindly suggested to me that I join the Blogger’s Annex.  She said she had just been “published” there and how much fun that was.  (Her post, Why Kendall Might Wish I Didn’t Teach At Her Middle School, was published August 14.)

So, I went there and it looked like an interesting concept.  That concept being that they publish the “best” post that they have received from their “band of bloggers” every day.  In theory then, you should be able to read a great post at that site every day. Neat!

 I registered and then submitted one of my early posts (Is That Where That Eyebrow Was Yesterday?).  And now, something kind of exciting has happened — I was the featured post yesterday!  It was fun to have one of my old favorites enjoyed by a whole new group of people.

BTW, I have already gone there today, and today’s is about a little emergency a mother and her children had and how her 7 year old handled it. Very cute.

I think you bloggers and readers both might want to look at Blogger’s Annex.  I’m putting it in my blogroll for your convenience.  I’ve just started going there myself, but it sounds like it should just about guarantee a “good read” every day!  And we all love that, don’t we?

Another interesting experience in the blogging world.