Just a Bridge

September 30, 2008


There’s just an ordinary bridge we cross going into and out of Chicago:

 But when I really looked at it, I found that I liked its “bones.”  Also, that I liked the view of it through the shaded top of the windshield.

I like this less cropped version too:

It’s just an old, rusty bridge, but . . .


. . . when you look closely, there’s some beauty there.

Sometimes “the best” isn’t readily apparent — we have to really look for it. 

May we look for the best, even when it isn’t readily apparent, in people too!

A Coach, A Team and A “Near-Death” Experience!

September 28, 2008

First of all, a little background on our daughter, DD, “the coach.”  So that you can pick out which one she is in this photo, let me just say that in college she believed you could never be too tan or have too much hair.  So, I probably don’t even have to bother to tell you she is third from the left.  Hair and tan aside though, she was a very good, verrrrry competitive player.

But since her very tan/big hair college days, DD has married, has had three daughters, has had a successful career in Human Resources and Training with several companies, and has matured alot.  And she is specifically applying her maturity and life experiences to her volunteer “second job,” coaching 5th grade volleyball at her childrens’ school.

Three years ago, DD did have a full-time job, but her office was at home and her time was flexible, so she began coaching 5th grade volleyball at the parochial grade school Coco and Lulu attend.  And, at some point, because of all the time her girls ended up spending at the gym while she coached, she promised Coco that she would coach her in volleyball when she got to 5th grade. 

Then last January, DD was offered a traditional go-to-the-office-every-day job with a company where she had previously worked.  She really wanted to take the job, but one of the things that was a concern to her was that, taking it would mean she wouldn’t be able to keep her promise to Coco to coach her in volleyball.  Luckily, the company’s CEO knew DD and knew that she was the person he really wanted as his VP of Human Resources, so he offered her a deal — if she would take the job, she could work flexible hours during the volleyball season so that she could still coach the team!  She took the job. 

Consequently, DD is coaching Coco this year, and they are both really enjoying it.  And, Coach DD doesn’t have to worry about hearing “she’s the coach’s kid, so she gets to play more” about Coco, because there are rules in place for fifth grade games that make “favoritism” impossible — each player can only make five serves in a row, everyone gets to play, etc.

So yesterday, Papa and I drove to Chicago to see Coco play and DD coach.  And, of course, we would get to see Lulu and Mimi and “King” George too! 

Here’s Coach, and her little “biggest fan,” Mimi.  I asked Mimi if she was going to play volleyball when she gets old enough, and she said she was.

As soon as the previous game was finished, Coach DD gathered her team, the Panthers, on the floor to warm up.  Coco is the red head who is closest to the camera.

First, they did some serving practice. 

And then Coach DD set balls for each girl who, hopefully, hit the ball over.  But whether the girl did or not, she then chased down the ball and returned it to the bin, before going to the back of the line to wait for her next turn.


After the period of warm-up, the teams huddled and the Panthers did a “Go, Fight, Win!”  kind of yell and the game began.

During the game, there was lots of encouragement from the bench.  Unfortunately, the “photographer” just didn’t get any pictures of Coach DD standing on the sidelines constantly yelling instruction and encouragement to her team.  Let’s be truthful, the photographer got interested in watching the game herself, and kind of forgot to take pictures of anything but Coco.  What’s the matter with the photographer anyway? Here is at least a picture of DD coachng during a time out. 

The pictures I did take, pretty much featuring Coco.



They didn’t win this game.  But, Coach has well prepared them (and their parents) for that.  They are a pretty good team for fifth graders, but she constantly reminds them and their parents that fifth grade volleyball isn’t about winning.  It’s about having an opportunity to learn the game, and finding out whether they enjoy the game.  Then, if they do find out they like it, they can worry about wins and loses and being “competitive” in the future.

I am really proud of DD and how she handles these little girls.  I felt like I could actually see them bask in her constant encouragement. As she said to me, she is trying to teach them things like sportsmanship and losing gracefully, that will apply in lots of areas of their lives, besides sports.

And, after the game.  After they had slapped hands with the other team and told them, good job.  Both teams, went down to the end of the hall, where there was a prayer posted on the wall, and they all read it together.   I wish I had thought to take a picture of the prayer because I don’t remember what it said, but I do remember that it didn’t say anything like, “Please help us win!”  

When DD was a high school senior, it was obvious that she was a great mentor to younger girls.  And, I’m seeing that trait again in how she is handling these little girls.  She is being a good mentor, whether they continue playing volleyball or not.  Good work, Coach DD.

One more thing, regarding that “near death experience?”  I was sitting in the stands talking and not paying attention, while the teams were warming up.  All of a sudden, I looked up and saw this!

Well, actually this is a “reenactment.”  The real event had “George’s” hand between my face and the ball! 

An errant ball was apparently headed straight for my face and I didn’t see it.  But, George, who has lightening quick reflexes, reached up and caught it with his hand right before it hit me!  Thank you, George.

After the game, we went to watch Lulu’s gymnastics practice, but I didn’t get any pictures of that because it was in a huge building, and we had to watch from way across the room, from behind glass.  But here is a picture of her and Mimi schmoozing with Papa after the volleyball game.

And here’s one I took when I saw Lulu studying this sign.  I imagine the colorful sign caught her eye because she is very interested in drawing and she was probably using her “artist’s eye,” looking at how it was drawn and what colors were used.

It was a great day spent with DD and her family.

I’m Off to Take Pictures

September 27, 2008

We’re leaving early this morning to go to Chicago to see Coco play in a volleyball game and then go to Lulu’s gymnastic’s practice. 

DD pointed out that we would just be seeing a practice in Lulu’s case.  But, I reminded her that Dad and I had watched many a practice when she was in sports.  We are not uncomfortable being the only fans in the stands!

Of course, when I get back, I’ll be posting some granddaughters-in-action shorts!  Oops, I meant granddaughters-in-action shots — but they probably will be wearing shorts too!

Have a wonderful Fall weekend.  Savor the season.

You Should Keep A Diary . . .

September 26, 2008


. . . and you are, if you’re blogging.

There is an absolutely beautiful post on Blogger’s Annex yesterday (see blog roll at right) by a young mother about the memories she knows may be fleeting.

When my children were little and I was very, very busy, and they did something that was cute about every five seconds, I was told, “You should keep a diary (we didn’t call it a journal then) so that you’ll remember some of these cute, sweet things they do!”  I loved the idea, but I just never got around to it. 

But, now there is this wonderful “invention” called “blogging,” and it has made it interesting and fun for alot of us to write things down that we wouldn’t have otherwise.

So, young mommy bloggers, congratulations, you are “keeping a diary,” as was suggested to me — it’s called blogging.  And, I promise you, even though you won’t remember everything, you will remember much more than I do, because of what you are writing on your blog.  Good for you!

I wish blogging had been around when I was raising my family, but I am glad that it’s here now.  I am recording stories of my past, and thoughts of my present every day, that my great-great-grandchildren will be able to read, and because of it, they will know me in ways that I will never know my ancesters.

Blogging is wonderful, and I’m glad DD dragged me to it kicking and screaming.  It has been one of the nicest gifts she has ever given me (even better than the two huge balls that light up, and have absolutely no earthly purpose).

It’s So Rewarding to be Awarded an Award!

September 25, 2008


I want to thank New Diva for presenting me with two awards! 

I told DD that I was thrilled  to receive my first blogging awards, EVER!  And then DD told me they AREN’T my first awards, because she has given me blogging awards.  Hmmm.  I don’t remember those.  I guess that’s because I didn’t know what to DO with them.  I’m a little bit better at blogging now, so I can be a little more gracious in my acceptance. 

So, New Diva, thank you sincerely for these two awards, even though, apparently, they aren’t the first I’ve received, as I first thought.  Well, I reallllly appreciate them anyway!

I like the idea of “making someone’s day”


I’m not realllly sure I qualify as a “kick ass” blogger, but if New Diva thinks so — that’s good enough for me!


And a belated but heart-felt thanks to DD for whatever awards she has given me in the past!

Naming a Blog

September 24, 2008


When naming our children, Hubby and I tried to be very careful to give them names that would not embarrass them — common names, spelled in a common way.  But when I worked at the jail, I realized that lots of people apparently don’t feel the same way when naming their children.  Some of the names I saw that come to mind are guys named Jessthy and Kimothy, and a brother and sister named Carless and Carhonda!

But when I started to name this blog, I didn’t really think about the name too much.  It wasn’t like I was naming a child, right?  So, what difference did it make?

As background, when DD started blogging, I would leave comments on her blog by “Hoosier Mama.”  I really thought that was terrrrribly clever, because I was her mother and I lived in Indiana!  Surrrrrly I was the first to think of that name, right?

Well, reality check.  When I decided to start blogging, I just assumed I would use that name (I know, I realize now it has a slight “biker chick” feel, but I didn’t think about that at the time.  I was blinded by my “cleverness” for thinking of it.), but I soon found out differently.  When DD was setting up my blog (She did all the work — I just started typing, when she handed the finished blog to me.), she found out that “Hoosier Mama” was not only not original, but it was about as common as an old shoe.  There was even a company by that name!

DD had the blog all set up and ready to go, but now it didn’t have a name.  So, she told me, “I’ll call you tomorrow — have a name!”  And I promptly forgot about it.  Hey, I’ve got excuses.  I was very busy and I’m over 60!

So, she called me the next day and said she just had a minute, but needed the name I had chosen so that she could finish up the blog.  For some reason there was a sense of urgency, but I don’t remember the cause. What I do remember is that I was flustered that I hadn’t even thought about a name again, but suddenly the words, “add humor and faith, mix well” just popped into my mind and out my mouth. She said she liked the sound of that, and my new blog was launched that very afternoon with that name, and I love it.  Just my opinion, but I think it is a little more descriptive of me than “Hoosier Mama.” 

I’ve come to appreciate that “Add Humor and Faith” is a name that reminds me every time I look at it, of what I want the goals and attitudes of this blog to be.  And it also gives anyone else who sees it a little idea of what to expect when they come to “visit.”

So, if you are a blogger, how did you arrive at your name?  And, even if you aren’t a blogger, what are some of your favorite names of blogs?

It’s Gut-Check Time

September 23, 2008


Hubby and I are not economists (and apparently neither are alot of people in government!) and we’re not people who understand all the nuances and subtleties of the issues that are currently being debated between the two presidential candidates.  So, what can we do about all that’s going on right now? 

Here is our list.

1. Do everything we can to live a normal life.  Spend our money, to the extent of our resources, the way we did before all this started.  If we maintain our spending habits as much as possible, we are helping to stabilize and strengthen the economy.  It is true that the economy is, and always has been, like a “house of cards,” with each of us as one of the cards.  And, if we each hold up our little portion of the “house,” we are adding to the strength of the overall “structure.”  But, if we let fear take over, and “lie down” financially, it weakens the structure.

2. We are watching our investments take a reallllly big hit right now.  There are times when you can’t help but think, “We might as well have that money under the mattress, for all the ‘investing’ is doing for it right now!”  But, while I don’t have the exact statistics to quote, I do know that the last time there was a crunch like this — I believe it was in the early 80’s — the people who left their money right where it was and just stayed the course and didn’t panic, came out just fine. So, that is our matra, “Stay the course.  Don’t move anything.  Hunker down, investment wise, right where we are.”

3.  As far as the election is concerned, we are listening to what the candidates say, and when the time comes, we will vote.  If we don’t vote, we have chosen not to participate in deciding our own future.

4. Most importantly, we are praying about it all.  I truly believe in the power of prayer.  The Bible tells us to “pray without ceasing.”  I don’t believe that means to pray every minute.  I believe it means to pray about everything that in any way concerns us, at any time in the day when that concern comes to mind.  And the economy and the election are definitely two things that we are all concerned about and are certainly foremost in our minds right now!

Romans 8:28:  “All things work to the good for those who know and love God.”  I believe the way we “know” Him is to read His Word and pray.

I saw a t-shirt on a man recently that I really liked.  It just said, “Pray. Vote. Pray.”

We are praying about the economy.  We are praying about the election.  We will pray before we vote.

And, we will pray for the new President, whether we voted for him or not.

“Gut-check time” is easier when it’s accompanied by “heart-check time” through prayer. 

May God bless each of you with wisdom and peace as you do your best during these hard times.

Quick, (Re-)Learn to Sew — Christmas is Coming!

September 22, 2008


I went to a craft consignment shop recently, and saw this.

I absolutely love the hand towels that you can hang on the front of the oven.  I like having a designated towel for drying hands, so that the dish towels don’t inadvertently get used for that.

But, I have two problems with these little treasures.  First of all, they are very hard to find –apparently, they’ve gone out of style.  And, secondly, when I do find one, I don’t always like the color or the design.

So, I was delighted when I found this one, that does go well in my kitchen, and also looks “easy” to make.

So, I had this great idea to make these for Christmas presents!

The only slight problem is that I haven’t sewn in at least 30 years, and was never very talented at it.  I know I had a sewing machine at one time, but I have no idea what happened to it.  (My guess is, garage sale.)

So, I suddenly had a “project,” and was on a “mission.”  I went to my favorite super store and found this modestly priced sewing machine so that I could re-learn to sew, and then hopefully make these little Christmas gifts.

With the help of the instruction book, I got the machine set up (on the island in the kitchen, until I get the hang of it), got the bobbin filled and loaded and then came to a “brick wall” — threading the machine.  Is there anything more frustrating in the whole world than looking at a step-by-step diagram that seems perfectly clear, but not being able to follow it? 

I had to call in the “big guns.”  I called Rosie, our good friend who is in her 80’s but still making wedding gowns, and hemming slacks for me, and sewing buttons on when Hubby needs that.  I told Rosie what I was trying to do, and (playing on her sympathy) told her that this makes me miss my mom, because she’s the one who would have helped me with this when she was alive. (Kind of the 62-year-old-equivalent of, “I want my mommy!”)

Rosie laughingly “took the bait” and offered to come over and help me thread it.  She had it done in just the snap of your fingers.  But, I watched — so I think I can do it next time!  Although, my good friend, and constant “encourager,” Linda, suggested that I just buy another sewing machine any time I want to use a different color thread, so that once a machine is threaded, I never have to thread it again!  Thanks, Linda. 

So, now I’m down to the learning-to-sew part.  The first time I tried to just run a simple stitch (of course, using a practice scrap of material), I forgot I had to push the material through the machine (duh!), so I ended up with a tangle of thread all in one spot.  I have that cleared now, so today I’m going to give it another shot.  Good thing I started in September, huh?

Here are my first group of “volunteers” for this diabolical experiment.  They look so happy.  Obviously, they don’t know the woman who’s going to operate on them has absolutely noooo “credentials!” 


“Come on, little towels and hot pads.  Come with the nice lady.  This won’t hurt a bit.  Oh, by the way, did I mention you won’t be able to have baby towels and hot pads, after the surgery?  Not to worry.  You can always adopt.”

I’ll do another post on this, if I ever get any made.  But, if you never hear about them again — please, don’t ask!

Enjoy What You Have — Today!

September 20, 2008

If you were in an accident tomorrow and could never walk again, would you wish you had taken more walks?

If you lost your hearing tomorrow, would you struggle to remember what the voices of your loved ones sounded like?  Or wish you could really listen to beautiful music one more time?

If you lost your sense of taste tomorrow, would you wish you had really savorerd the flavor of the foods you loved?

If you lost your sense of touch tomorrow, would you wish you’d spent more time running your hands over your child or grandchild’s hair or their sweet, smooth face?  Or holding the hand of the love of your life?

If you lost your sense of smell tomorrow, would you wish you had savored more the smell of a hot apple pie, or of a baby after their bath or of leaves burning in the Fall?

If you lost your sight tomorrow, would you wish you had really looked at the beauty in nature and the sky more closely?  Or that you had really studied the faces of your loved ones so that they would be commited to memory?

If you lost your voice tomorrow, would you wish you had sung more and spoke more lovingly to those around you?

If you lost a loved one tomorrow, would you wish you had said the things you felt in your heart that you assumed they “knew,” and told them how much you loved them the last time you saw them?

Sometimes we get so busy with life that we forget to savor  — the moment, the person, the touch, the beauty that we take for granted. 

May God grant us all the wisdom to savor what we have t.o.d.a.y.

I wrote this because my dad lost his eyesight before he died, and at that point, I promised myself that I would try to savor the sights around me.  And I especially have learned to apply that to the sky — I just love looking at, and, now, taking pictures of, the ever-changing sky.

Lunch with a (Tilted) View

September 18, 2008


When we drive down an access road on our way to our favorite Cracker Barrel, we drive past the back of a bank, and will see this picnic table on the side of this hill, just a few yards up from the road, for weeks at a time.

I’ve never seen anyone sitting at it,  But, if I did,  I would definitely hope I had my camera along!

It seems to me that if you happened to lose your balance while sitting here, you could very easily roll the few yards to the road, and possibly be hit!

I’d love to see how the employer would write that on a Workman’s Comp claim:  “Employee fell from picnic table into traffic, while eating lunch.”  OSHA would be allll over that!