Thankful for Family Time

November 8, 2009


Two weekends ago we visited Gunny and his family for a very busy long weekend.  Our goals while we were there were — to see Nikki cheer at a varsity football game — to celebrate her 16th birthday — to attend her and Jays’ confirmation — to see Jay play on the freshman football team — and to squeeze in some visiting time whereever we could.   And we managed to do it all!

On Friday night:

100_5943  Because of the confirmation we didn’t have any flexibility in which weekend we visited, so if we wanted to see Nikki cheer we would have to drive to a game on Friday night two and a half hours away!  But when you live as far away as we do, you have to take opportunities as they present themselves, so we made the trip and were glad we did.

100_5952g  It was an exciting game that our team won in the last few minutes.




100_5965f  Nikki with a close friend who is also a cheerleader.

100_5966f   It was realllly cold and I hadn’t thought to take gloves, so Dilly was kind enough to lend me one of hers.  Not a perfect, solution but at least it helped!  (It’s hard to see, but we had our gloved hands clasped together in the middle.)

On Saturday:

100_5970   We celebrated Nikki’s 16th birthday!

100_5975r   We couldn’t decide on what kind of cake to buy at the fantastic local bakery, so we bought two small ones — one lemon and one red velvet.

100_5969g   But, as her special birthday “cake” Nikki opted for a slice of strawberry cheesecake, and then we bought this humongus candle to go on top that was about the same size as the slice it was sitting on!

100_5972g   I wanted to get a nice family picture of them.  But, Jay was goofing off a little.

100_5971ff   So, he and Gunny “discussed” how he should pose for the picture …

100_5973f   … ahhh, much better.

100_5981f   I love this picture.  Nikki knows how to smile for a picture, but Jay does have trouble deciding how he should pose.  So I like this one because he just looks like him — no pose at all!

100_5982   I don’t know.  Do you think you can tell they’re related? I kind of think so.

100_5983h   And these two look a little alike too.

On Sunday morning:

100_5988g   Nikki and Jay were confirmed into the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.  They each had to ask someone to stand with them at the front and read their confirmation bible verse, and they asked Hubby and me.  Hubby for Jay and me for Nikki.  We were very honored that they asked us.




On Monday night:  We enjoyed watching Jay’s freshman football team win their game.  Thankfully, it wasn’t nearly as cold as it had been for the varsity game on Friday night!  But, unfortunately I forgot my camera, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that he was very cute (in a “manly” sort of way, of course) in his uniform and played well.

Early Tuesday morning:

100_6014s   Gunny met us for breakfast before we left town.  We had to wait a few minutes for the doors of the restaurant to open at 6 a.m.!

Thank you Father for the wonderful time we got to spend with our loved ones.

Answered Prayer

September 6, 2009


Almost exactly two years after it was first put on the market, Gunny and Dillys’ house in the city they used to live in 16 hours away has sold!  The closing was Friday.  Thank you, God.

They can now move on with their lives.  As Dilly told me several months ago, “We can’t totally live here until we sell that house.  We still have ‘one foot’ there!” 

So, now, Dilly, Gunny, their two teenagers and their two Great Dane dogs, who have all lived “like a can of sardines” in a very small apartment for what seems like a verrrry long time, can finally decide where they want to live permanently in their new city.

As with most challenging events in the lives of those we love, it was hard to see them go through the long wait for that house to sell.  But they have actually been pretty happy in their cramped apartment, and have said that they are coming away from this experience with a very different outlook on what is required for happiness!

It’s wonderful that they are taking away from this experience some great memories and life-lessons learned, but that doesn’t stop any of us from being very, very relieved that the house has finally sold.

Thank you, God, for answered prayer.

Blessed by the Peacemaker

July 28, 2009


P1020400(1)  Our Daughter-in-law, “Dilly” (on the phone with the store she manages, as she regularly is, even on vacation).


P1020327(1)(1)  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good picture of her with the love-of-her-life, JJ.  She adores that little boy, her first grandchild.

When Dilly married Gunny almost 16 years ago, she and I struggled to build a relationship.  We were as different as night and day, and the fact that we lived so far apart, made it even harder to get to know each other, and find common ground.  But, I wanted (and I know now that she did too) a loving relationship with her, so I prayed that God would show us how to develop one.  And, He answered that prayer, in spades!

Without any reservations, today I can say, I love this young woman.  And she loves me too.  I am so thankful for her and our loving relationship.

Dilly loves our son and grandchildren with all her heart and would go to the ends of the earth for them.  And, she is a  talented manager of people.  She is the very successful manager of a large store in Tulsa, OK for a major eyeglass company.

But, one of the traits I admire most in Dilly is that she is a peacemaker and repairer of broken relationships.  In fact, when I think about it, I guess the present success of the relationship she and I have is at least partly because of her ability to do that — or maybe the fixing of our relationship taught her skills that she uses on others now.

For whatever reason, she has a talent  for and is always working at making shakey relationships better.   I admire many things about Dilly, but her desire to help heal broken relationships is probably the one I admire most.  There is no doubt in my mind that Dilly adds immeasurably to the lives of those around her.  And, the world is a better place for having her in it.

We need more Dilly’s in the world!

I love you, Dilly.

What Kind of Pie IS That?

December 16, 2008


Gunny and Dilly met when the Marines transferred him from Tustin, California to Jacksonville, North Carolina.  Dilly’s roots run deep in North Carolina, and her tradition, that then included Gunny after they married, was to go to her mother’s people in a rural area near Raleigh for Christmas Day.

In fact, we went with them a couple times.  It is a large, loving, ready to include anyone who walks through the door, family.  We had a great time with them, and besides the food was fantastic!

The tradition was that while Aunt Hope and the women visited and prepared the rest of the meal in the house, Uncle Dave  and  the men roasted a hog out in the shed.  I never visited “the shed” but that apparently was where the whiskey was kept also, to ward off the cold, they would say.  All I know is that the best Carolina barbeque I have ever tasted in my life came out of that shed!

But, one of the times we were there, Aunt Hope and  Gunny had an interesting and memorable  conversation:

Aunt Hope:  “Gunny, now how about a piece of my PEE-can pie?”

Gunny:  “That sounds great, Aunt Hope.  But, you know, in Indiana we call it p-CAAN pie.”

Aunt Hope:  “Hmmm. That’s very interesting.  By, the way, how many PEE-can trees do you have in Indiana?”

Gunny:  “Good point.  Yes, maam.  I’d love a piece of PEE-can pie.”

The good-natured laughter that followed, like whipped cream on top, made the PEE-can pie even better.

Good fellowship, good food, good humor — the “secret”  ingredients for wonderful family get-togethers at the holidays!