I am blessed

January 31, 2010


My last post Preserving History was about my mother’s photo albums which I enjoy using in posts here and the fact that my sister Martha is giving them all to me to keep, even though she has always especially treasured them and enjoyed having them with her. 

I am blessed by Martha’s love and generousity.

And then I received this — my blogging friend, Chrissy’s comment on that post:

Praying and believing with you!  Mama’s albums have blessed me too!  It is much to my heart, not quite like yours, but much to my heart!  I pray you keep on track with this goal and you reach it and you feel the sense of accomplishment you deserve! I pray it blesses Martha!  I pray that the sense of “hoping you stay on target”  gets you to target and that you get to enjoy Martha and your conversation every time you produce another album restored!  Gett’em Sandra!! 

I am so touched and blessed by my praying friend, Chrissy.

And, I am blessed by all of you who are reading this.  You are my “neighbors” in a huge, diverse neighborhood and many of you  have become dear friends who add to my life immeasurably. 

Even though they aren’t always this clear, I believe God regularly blesses us through people He puts in our lives.

May God especially bless each of you on this Sunday.

Preserving History

January 30, 2010


I think Mama did a great job of documenting our family’s history in her book I Remember and in her many photo albums.  And I have come to really enjoy using both of those resources for posts here on my blog.

Of course, I have a copy of Mama’s book, but the albums of her pictures have been stored at my sister Martha’s house since Mama died nine years ago, after living with Martha and her husband for her final years. 

So, when I started using Mama’s pictures on this blog, I began borrowing the albums a few at a time from Martha.  But sometimes I’ll have a story I want to share out of Mama’s book, but I don’t have the album right then which would have pictures from that year.   And Martha lives over two hours away, so it isn’t possible to just “run over” to get whichever album I need.

A few days ago Martha and I were having one of our monthly phone chats (I also sometimes make a day trip down to see her to go out for lunch and spend an afternoon playing Yahtzee!).  Anyway, I was telling her that several of the albums that are “visiting”  me right now are getting in pretty bad shape and I think I need to replace the pages. 

In fact, last week I took this album which is one of the worst to Archiver’s to see what kind of replacement pages I could get.  I had invisioned ones that were clear plastic and had pockets so that I could just put a picture in each pocket, and if anything was written on the back, you would be able to see it through the back of the page.  But apparently there aren’t any pages like that that are available for albums the size of these old ones (I also looked on the internet), so I bought black pages and corners (very much like the same ones that Mama used all those years ago!) to transfer the pictures to new pages. 

After I told Martha all this, she gave me a very touching surprise.  She has always been very sentimental about the things of Mama’s that still reside with her.  She and Mama had a very close relationship and she always said it was a privilege to get to care for Mama in her final years.  So I’ve always understood that while Martha was perfectly fine with me borrowing the albums, she really preferred for them to “live” at her house. 

But that means it was something of a shock to me when she offered me all of Mama’s albums to keep at my house!  I know what an act of love that is by her and I am so touched by it.

So, I have the supplies and am ready to begin the preserving of history.  I hope that I will be able to stay on task and get this first one done quickly, for two reasons.  First of all, I would like to take it with me the next time I visit Martha (at which time I will retrieve the rest of the albums too) because I would like for her to see how (hopefully) nice it looks with it’s new pages.  But also, I tend to start a project and then get distracted and have trouble keeping on task until the project is completed.  So I would appreciate it if you would say a little prayer for me that I can keep my eye on the goal, and get these albums restored so that they will be there for future generations to enjoy!

Here’ a Boost for your day!

January 29, 2010


I’ve never tried to put a video in a post before, but I just had to try with this one.  This is such an inspiring story and I hope it will give each one of you a blessing today.


A memorable Super Bowl saga!

January 28, 2010


With the Colts going to the Super Bowl, it reminds me of a story our neighbor told us after the Colt’s last Super Bowl appearance three years ago.  The neighbor’s brother was one of the four men in the following story.  

Three years ago when the Colts made it to the Super Bowl, a local business man flew three of his friends in his private jet  to the game.  The plan was for a quick trip — they would fly down right before the game, see the game, and then immediately fly back. 

So on Super Bowl Sunday the group flew to Miami.  When they got there it was pouring down rain as they picked up their rental car and drove to the stadium.  When they arrived, the rain was so hard that the guy who was driving dropped the other three off at the gate before going to find parking.

They were glad to see a Super Bowl and, of course, enjoyed seeing the Colts win, but it  n.e.v.e.r  s.t.o.p.p.e.d  r.a.i.n.i.n.g.  By the time the game was over they were absolutely soaked right down to their underwear.

Then as they slogged out into the flooded parking lot, still in pouring rain, the driver realized that because he was in a hurry to get into the stadium, he hadn’t taken enough time to make sure he knew where he parked the very generic, white rental car.  So the group spent an eternity trudging through the parking lots that surround the stadium, sometimes in water over their shoes, looking for the car.  Only after the lots had cleared out alot were they able to spot their car.

By this time, it was getting really late and they were getting tired, besides being soaked to the skin and now having very squishy shoes and socks, but they were thankful to finally be on their way to the airport and then home.

The flight home was uneventful and they arrived safely at the small, rural, unmanned airport about 3 a.m.  It had been a very long day and all they cared about now was getting home to dry clothes and a warm bed.  But when they tried to open the door of the plane, it wouldn’t open.  Unfortunately, because the plane had gotten thoroughly soaked in Miami too, something interesting had happened during the flight home — the door had frozen shut! 

While the unceasing rain and the parking fiasco may had seemed laughable earlier, now they were beyond tired and didn’t have much patience with this final hurdle to getting home!  After they tried to open the door a few times, and there was no one at the airport that time of night to call for assistance, they did the only thing “manly men” could do — they kicked out the emergency window and crawled out! 

Then they went to their cars and drove home to dry clothes, warm beds and with an interesting “when we went to the Super Bowl” story to tell. 

Our son, Gunny, has a favorite saying that I think fits perfectly here,  “The worst experiences make the best stories, once they’re over.”  I think there are four guys who went to the wettest Super Bowl in history who would agree.

Simple Beauty

January 27, 2010



Daddy’s mother died the year before I was born.  A year or two later Grandpa moved to Alabama and married his second cousin, Hattie.   

Hattie was always especially kind to me when we visited her and Grandpa on their little ramshackle farm outside of Birmingham.  And she took loving care of my fiery little whiskey-loving Irish grandpa in his declining years.  (She is also the one who gently tried to introduce me to stewed tomatoes and fresh buttermilk, but I don’t hold that against her!) 

When I look at this picture of Hattie I see simple beauty reflecting a kind and gentle heart within.

Mama Remembered: Pictures of the Quilting Ladies

January 25, 2010


About a month ago I posted Mama Remembered: War Chairman for the PTA here .  Since then I happened across two additional pictures of the committee she organized to make quilts and I wanted to share them.  So, here is that part republished, with pictures added.


From Mama’s book, I Remember:

Another of my jobs as War Chairman was to head the Red Cross group, a group of ladies who met one day a week to make afghans for the veterans in the hospitals.  We made them of wool scraps, cut in 3 1/2 in. squares, crocheted around with yarn and then sewed together to make a large afghan.  The PTA gave me money to buy the yarn.  I went to the clothing factories and asked them for their wool scraps.  When I told them what it was for, they loaded me down with scraps.  I would cut the squares at home, pack them in a suitcase and take them down to the school.  If I remember right we met Thursday afternoon.  We would spend a couple hours cutting , crocheting and talking about the designs.  The ladies (there were usually 8 to 12 of them) also took ones home to crochet around.

   Mama and her Red Cross Committee meeting in the school kitchen.

   Mama (third from left in front row) and her Red Cross group  with one of the afghans they made.

I would take the completed  squares home and lay them out on the floor to plan a design, then I would pick them up in rows.  The next time we met, we would sew them together in that order.  Some of our afghans were beautiful.  We always hung them around the room on PTA day.  Then we gave them to the Navy or Army Mothers to be taken to the hospitals.  We felt like we were helping.


Several things strike me about these photos.  First, I am amazed at the school kitchen.  It’s hard to tell because of the sun coming in the window, but I get the impression it might be in the basement, and it looks like a basement!  Certainly not a tile and chrome school kitchen as we expect today.   On the other hand, I think there may be people who still have folding chairs like the ones they are sitting on.  Okay, maybe not exactly like them, but certainly similar!

Also, I think the way the ladies are dressed is very interesting.  As far as I can tell, they all have on high heels and I imagine they are all wearing dresses.  Young mothers, you put on heels and a dress to go to your childrens’ school to volunteer too, right?  Yeah, I did too.

A group of nice ladies who spent some time every week in the school kitchen working on a worthwhile project.  And don’t they look proud of their results.

I think “We felt like we were helping.” sums it up. 

That’s one thing that hasn’t changed.  Doing something to contribute to a worthy cause still feels good. 


Amazing Grace

January 24, 2010


“I am a poor miserable sinner, saved by grace alone.”

The first time I remember hearing those words recited in a church service, I was a teenager and had been a Christian all of my young  life, but I had never heard it said exactly that way.  But when I heard those words, my first thought was, “That’s me exactly!”  Quickly followed by, “Thank you, Jesus.”

May the assurance of the place  that is saved for you in Heaven, not because of anything good in you but because Jesus purchased it specifically for you with His death and resurrection, make whatever troubles are occurring in your life  right now a little easier to bear.

Grace truly is amazing.

What’s your name, baby?

January 23, 2010


ZZ Sunrise

and identical twins

A Adam and B Bradley

The first thing that comes to my mind is that when they get to school, when the teacher says, “Write your first name in the upper right hand corner of the paper.” they are definitely going to be the first ones done!

Happy Bird-day!

January 22, 2010


My friend Candy recently told me about a free photo editing program from Google named Picasa.  I think it is interesting that each of the four editing programs I now have is so different.  They each offer a unique set of options, so you have to learn to “drive” each one differently, a little like learning to drive a new car.

So, here are some “test drives” with “blue” birds, ala Picasa.


Blogging has made me become more comfortable with trying new things.  Hooray for blogging!

Stand back! Exploding pre-conceived notions ahead!

January 21, 2010


Some of my personal pre-conceived notions are — only Democrats are senators from Massachusetts (and usually their last name is Kennedy!) — Amish people don’t “exercise” because they do hard physical labor in their every-day lives — people who get tattoos enjoy being able to look in a mirror and admire how their tattoos enhance their “look”. 

That sound you may have heard Wednesday was of some of my pre-conceived notions exploding!  When I got up that morning — a Republican had been elected a senator in Massachusetts for the first time in over 30 years — when we went to the gym, there were three overweight Amishmen in their full “uniform” (blue shirt, black pants, suspenders, black workboots and bowl-cut hair) working out — and also at the gym, there was a young man whose only visible tattoos were a star above each elbow on the back of his arms.

Check.  Check.  Check.  Three pre-conceived notions bite the dust.

Interesting, unexpected things happen all around us every day, some that contradict our pre-conceived notions. 

If everything was predictable, just think how boring life would be.

Note:  Regarding the exercising Amishmen, one was older than the other two, so I’m guessing he may have had health problems and his Dr. prescribed exercise (our gym is associated with a hospital), so the two younger men went with him for moral support.  It will be interesting to see if they come back.  I’m guessing it was uncomfortable for them, but I hope they do if I’m right about why they were there.