Shades of Jay

March 31, 2009


I don’t take as many pictures of Jay as I do of his sister Nikki, mainly because he isn’t crazy about having his picture taken.  But,  I do have a few I’d like to share, in gray tones.

100_4831f   I took this picture and the next one when we visited them in Tulsa in January.

 100_4839fe   Nikki is just a year older than Jay and they’ve always had a great relationship.  This picture of him sitting on her lap would be funnier if I had been across the room, so that you could see his long legs.  He is about 6″ taller than Nikki.

Jay is a fairly quiet, serious kid.  But, he can be funny when the mood strikes him.

p10009871   One day while Jay and Nikki were here for spring break, I was in the kitchen cooking and Jay was sitting at the island.  When I turned around, he was “wearing” this big rubber band that had been laying on the island.  It took some persuading to get him to leave it on long enough for me to get a picture.

 p10100751   In the car when we were taking them half-way home, I told Jay to sit in the front seat with Grandpa.  Then, during the trip, it occurred to me that I hadn’t taken many pictures of him during the week, and here they were going home!  So, I told him to turn aound so that I could take some pictures before it was too late! 

p10100761   This must be his studious look.  He is a good student.

p10100701    At one point,  Jay did this and kept us entertained for quite a while.  He had his straw from lunch on his teeth, ala “braces”, which made him talk really funny.  He got a kick out of the fact that every time he talked this way, Nikki and I would giggle.  So, of course, he kept talking! 

p101008021  Jay and Gunny, when we had lunch at the half-way point.

We had a great time with Jay and Nikki the week of their spring break, and I’m glad I at least thought to take a few pictures!

The Weight of Respect

March 30, 2009


Parenting is much different now than when we were raising our children.  And, even when Hubby and I were doing that, we certainly weren’t experts, so I definitely can’t claim to be an authority on the way you should parent today.  But, there is a life lesson I learned when I was a young married, before having children, that I hope might be of value to those of you still raising yours.

When we were first married, I worked downtown for a large insurance company.  And, in a rare show of frugality for my 19 year old self, I carpooled to work.

Mary Lou was a small, slim single mom of two pre-teen boys who appreciated getting a rider to help pay for her gas.  It was a perfect arrangement because I was right on her way to work.  So, for the next couple years Mary Lou and I had the rides to and from work to learn about each other and share our lives.

And  by the time my rides with Mary Lou ended (I was expecting Gunny and quitting my job) I felt I had learned one very important parenting lesson:  Get your child’s respect before they get bigger than you!

Mary Lou’s ex-husband wasn’t very involved in her boys’ lives, so she was mostly on her own.  And even to my young eyes, I could see that she pretty much parented by spoiling them.

When I started riding with Mary Lou, her spoiled boys were just mildly irritating to her.  And, when they really got out of hand, she would just physically make them do what she had told them to do.

The problem is, that I could see a change in how her way of doing things was working as the boys got bigger.  By the time I quit riding with Mary Lou, the boys were both bigger than her, and by that time they were telling her what they would and wouldn’t do!  And, because they were then bigger and stronger than her, she didn’t have a way of making them do anything!

I didn’t keep in touch with Mary Lou, so I don’t know how the rest of her child raising years went, but I’m guessing it wasn’t fun to be mom to those two boys through their high school years.  But, I’m also hoping that they turned out fine once they got out on their own and the world taught them some of the lessons and boundaries their mom didn’t. 

When you teach your children the lessons they need to learn, like respect, you do it with love.  The world isn’t nearly as “loving” when it teaches your children the lessons you didn’t teach them! 

May God give you patience, wisdom and perseverance in your parenting.  I believe it is the hardest, but most important job, we will ever do.

Thanking Him in All Circumstances

March 29, 2009



Dear God:

I want to thank you for what you have already done. I am not going to wait until I see results or receive rewards; I am thanking you right now.  I am not going to wait until I feel better or things look better; I am thanking you right now.  I am not going to wait until people say they are sorry or until they stop talking about me; I am thanking you right now. 

I am not going to wait until the pain in my body disappears; I am thanking you right now.  I am not going to wait until my financial situation improves; I am going to thank you right now.  I am not going to wait until the children are asleep and the house is quiet; I am going to thank you right now. 

I am not going to wait until I get promoted at work or until I get the job; I am going to thank you right now.  I am not going to wait until I understand every experience in my life that has caused me pain or grief; I am thanking you right now.  I am not going to wait until the journey gets easier or the challenges are removed; I am thanking you right now.

I am thanking you because I am alive.  I am thanking you because I made it through the day’s difficulties.  I am thanking you because I have walked around the obstacles.  I am thanking you because I have the ability and the opportunity to do more and do better.

I’m thanking you because FATHER, YOU haven’t given up on me.

God is just so good, and he’s good all the time. THANK HIM.


My blogging friend, Dawn at A New Day Dawns posted this recently.  She had gotten it from an internet e-mail (no author given)  and if I’ve seen it before, I’ve forgotten, so I asked her permission to share its powerful message here too.  The reminder it gives us to thank Him in all circumstances seems particularly appropriate in these uncertain times. 

Dawn also had another post recently that touched my heart.  It’s her personal thoughts about waiting for God’s decision about something you (or your child) really want.


On this Sunday, may you be especially blessed and inspired by the faith of others!

Drawers, Drawers . . .

March 28, 2009


. . . wonderful drawers.  They organize the “stuff” behind cupboard doors!

When we moved to this house, my friend Candy made a suggestion that I thought was a good one about organizing storage space.

So, I bought plastic drawers to organize space in several places in the house.

100_1037   In a cabinet in the kitchen.  The large drawer on the second shelf holds spices.  The two smaller drawers on the third shelf hold baking supplies.  (btw, I know the tops of the smaller drawers look like they’re drooping, but they just have rounded fronts that make them look that way in the picture.)

100_1039   Even though it’s not a drawer, this is a little two-shelf unit I also added in the space at the bottom of that cabinet to hold wraps and bags.  One of my sisters-in-law likes to tease me about my life-time supply of these products.  It’s true.  I get to the grocery and forget which ones I might need, so I buy some, just in case. 

p10101471   In a cupboard in the bathroom, we have three large drawers.  I’ve never had a bathroom cabinet that wasn’t perpetually messy, but the drawers corral the messiness and make it easier to find things!

p10101331   So, this week,  in my slow, slow progress in spring cleaning, I took on the space under my sink.

p1010134    I had already decided that I would apply the “drawer technique” in this area now.  So I bought two small drawers, because they had to be low enough to fit under the pipes. (I do think I’ll keep my eye out for a large, flat drawer that could replace these two — better use of the space, and more substantial.  I can always find somewhere else to use these two, if I find one.)

  p10101361   When I tried them, I could tell that they were probably going to slide around, so …

p10101381   I looked around for items I could use to stabilize them.  I had a small blue basket that had been used for storage in this space before, so I put it in the back to discourage them from sliding backwards.  Then, I also needed something in the bottom to help keep them in place.  What I decided I needed was some of that rubbery, waffley stuff, but I didn’t have any on hand.  But, I did have this mat that was made out of it in the fruit drawer in the refrigerator!  So, I used that.  I’ll get another one for the frig next time I think of it — it was needed worse in here right then!

p10101421  And then I put eveything back.  Done.  Better!

By the way, I talked to Candy the day after I did this and told her I had been mentally thanking her for suggesting using plastic drawers for organizing things when we moved here.  She acted surprised and said actually what she had been talking about was a metal system with drawers that replaces shelves in a cupboard.  Hmmm.  Well, Candy, you still get the credit, because this is what I thought you meant!

And now, on to the closet! (Do you sense I’m putting off the closet?  You’re right.)


March 27, 2009


 100_2119e1   I’m sure a hard-working farm dog has to grab 20 winks whenever and wherever he can!

I’ve discovered a blog I enjoy through Hilary at The Smitten Image. (I love how that works — when you “meet” someone new through a blog roll.  It’s like being introduced to a new, interesting person at a party!)

The new (to me) site is by Carmi at Written Inc.  He regularly puts forth  a subject as he did a few days ago with “drab”,  and then invites readers to link to a picture they have taken that relates to that subject.  What a neat idea!

I’ve forwarded pictures a couple times, and I like the way his subject prods me to remember a picture I’ve taken that fits.

So, when I thought about “drab” I remembered this picture I took at The Gourd  Barn  last fall.

Although, somehow I feel I’m being disrespectful to this sweet, sleeping dog to call it “drab” so maybe we should just call it “mono-chromatic”.

Thanks for putting me on to Carmi’s site, Hilary.  And thanks for giving me a reason to remember a favorite picture, Carmi!

Spring in Black and White

March 26, 2009





A High Standard for”Grandmothering”

March 25, 2009


p1000297111  Daddy’s mother.

You may be surprised when I tell you that the person who I try to emulate as a grandma is someone I never met.  She was my father’s mother and she died a year before I was born.  But, she has had a tremendous impact on my life through the stories I’ve heard about her.

She was born in Prussia, but she was raised in Texas and Oklahoma. 

She dated the son of an Indian Chief before she fell in love with and married a charming Irishman.  

When her charming Irishman spent a large portion of his wages from the railroad on his “weakness for the bottle”, she didn’t feel sorry for herself, she just continued to love him (and he did adore her too) and she got a job to help support their family which eventually included two sons and two daughters.

When her younger son, Ruhl, married Rose, a young girl who hadn’t learned much about being a housewife and mother from her own un-domestic mother, she took her new daughter-in-law under her wing and loved her and taught her as if she was her own.

Ruhl and Rose were my parents.  I know that Daddy adored his mother but it was Mama who most often  told me wonderful, always loving, stories about Grandma.

When Betty Rose, Mama and Daddy’s first child (and grandma’s first grandchild) was born, Grandma asked Mama to bring her to the dry cleaning plant where she worked so that she could show her off to her co-workers.  Mama told me the story many times about her taking Betty Rose to the plant where, even though it was early spring time, it was already incredibly hot around all the pressing machines, and Grandma and her co-workers, all hot and sweaty from their pressing work, stopped for a few minutes and came to the door so that Grandma could show her friends her adored first grandchild.

Grandma loved baseball.  They lived in Kansas City, so she followed the Blues.  Usually Grandma was all about her grandchildren and always had time for them, except when a baseball game was on the radio.  They said that when a ballgame was on, no one talked at all in the front room where Grandma would be sitting in front of the big console radio listening to the game, leaning forward, so as not to miss a single word of the announcer calling the game.

When my four older siblings were children, she would sometimes take all four of them with her on the street car, across town to the ball park to see a game.

My siblings all told me numerous times about the greeting they frequently received from Grandma.  She would grab you, wrap her arms tightly around you and pound you on the back, declaring that she was going to squeeze you so tight that you would break in two and she would have two of you to love! 

When my siblings were little, she wanted to be there when they got up on Christmas morning so that she could watch them open their gifts from Santa.  So for quite a few years, she would make Grandpa get up very, very early on Christmas morning so that they could be at Mama and Daddy’s house by 5 a.m., to be sure that they were there before the kids got up.

I was also told she had a great sense of humor and a contagious laugh.

One of Mama’s favorite funny stories about her:  

Grandma helped Mama pick out wallpaper for her kitchen.  And she told Mama that she would help her put it up.  Apparently back then they sometimes put wallpaper on the ceilng too.  So, Grandma (who was a rotund lady) was standing on the kitchen table putting a strip of wallpaper on the ceiling.  But, all of a sudden one end came loose and the whole strip of wallpaper, heavy with thick paste, fell down over her.  Mama said she and Grandma started laughing so hard that Grandma couldn’t do anything to get the paper off of herself or to get down from the table until they stopped.  Mama said Grandma, standing on the table after the disaster with the paste-soaked wallpaper draped over her head, looked like a mound of wallpaper and paste shaking with laughter.

Grandma taught Mama many things and one of those was an example of how to be a good grandma.  And Mama learned that lesson well.  So, she was a very special grandma to her grandchildren too.

And, because of all the stories I heard of my much beloved Grandma, and because of the great example Mama was, I am now trying to live up to the high standard for “grandmothering” those two represented.

And, someday, when I meet Grandma for the first time in Heaven, I look forward to her grabbing me and squeezing me tightly, and telling me that she’s going to squeeze me in two, so that there will be two of me to love.