Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mixing a Little Pleasure With Business

Since my Mother In Law passed away we've been busy weeding through the process of taking care of the business that you have to do when a loved one passes away. This has all been new for us and complicated because we live so far away. We had to make another trip to the Mountain Home last week and thought it would be nice to break the trip up by stopping in Washington DC for a day to see the Cherry Blossoms.

Catching the Blossoms at their "Peak" can be tricky, the timing of the bloom depends on the weather. We were locked into certain dates because we were meeting my youngest son on his break, but since our weather had been warm all week I thought we had a good chance of catching some blooms. Turns out we were just a couple days early for the "Peak" blooms but it was pretty none the less.

Our biggest challenge was the weather, we left home with temps in the 70's.  The day we went to see the Cherry Blossoms was cold and rainy. (temps were hovering in the low 40's) The rain held off till late morning so I was able to get some nice photos, and cold wet weather tends to keep the crowds away, which can be seen as a plus, especially when your trying to take photos.

Sweet Husband was done with the sightseeing a lot sooner than I was and retreated to the warmth of the museum to wait patiently for his very distracted wife. I was following but kept finding things I wanted to photograph.

We walked to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, where we were able to dry out, get warm and fill our bellies. Homemade guacamole, chips, and fish and chicken tacos made for a tasty lunch.

That Sunday we headed out to the Mountain House, all rested and refreshed, which was nice because we had a lot of work ahead of (and much more still to do) Did I mention that it snowed on the way? Three trips to the Mountain House this year and it has snowed each time we have visited. We have had to drive in some pretty bad weather this year and the Lord has protected us each time. I am thankful for the traveling mercies he has given us on these trips and for the Grace Moments, like our little excursion to see the Cherry Blossoms

Happy Spring!


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Packages Of Cheer

I've sent boxes of goodies to family members for as long as I've been married.

During our early years of marriage my husband spent a lot of time on deployment and loved getting "Care Packages"  I would fill them with home baked goodies, chocolate chip cookies made to fit Pringles Potato Chip containers were his favorites. (the cans helped keep them from breaking) I would include photos, candy, newspaper clippings about things happening at home (this was before the Internet) cassette tapes and any other little thing I would come across that I thought he might enjoy..

When my youngest went away to school I sent packages of things that a college student might appreciate. Things that work for college students include, home baked goods, gift cards to local fast food places (there was a coffee shop we knew he frequented), toiletries, socks, and snacks. College students are notoriously poor so just about anything is appreciated. 

As Christmas gifts I have sent my youngest son a baked good a month. He received a book that gave him three choices each month that he could request and we would make it and send it. He travels a lot more so he doesn't always get something each month anymore but I will still send a box out when he's home.

Now I have far away grandchildren. I wanted to stay connected, I wanted something for them to look forward to, something that would help them remember us, so we started sending them "Goodie Boxes" I enjoy putting them together as much as they enjoy getting them.

Their boxes include a variety of things. Their boxes take about a week to get to them so cakes don't travel as well but cookies and brownies do. I shop the thrift stores to look for clothing or trinkets that would make them smile. Sweet treats are always included and books. Last month I found these adorable baby dolls at the thrift store and little clothes to fit them, the girls were delighted. This month I found a cute idea on Pinterest using Mason Jars for treats. I love trying to think of new things to include in a box. Most items are found at the thrift store so the cost is minimal, my biggest cost is the shipping and that is totally worth it for me. Dear Daughter In Law took a photo after they received the last box, they were each wearing clothing I had sent and items that were included. Oldest granddaughter not home at the time so she is not included in photo.

Have a far away loved one, think about sending something to brighten their day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


The Magnolias and Daffodils are beginning to bloom and it is beginning to look like spring. The blooms are such a welcome sight after the cold dark days of winter. Even though we really have had quite a mild winter this year, I love seeing the sight of the first blooms of the season.

We spent the weekend clearing out winter debris in our garden. My husband takes care of trimming our Knockout Roses and for the last several years the Pampas Grass. The last couple times I tried to trim it I ended up with Poison Ivy, I don't even go near it anymore

 Things are still a bit brown and gray outside but I think that may change soon, we have another week of warm weather in the forecast. I know from past experience the the cold revisit and nip all this new growth in no time at all, but I'm going to enjoy it while I can.  What signs of Spring are you seeing?

 It also Cherry Blossom Season and I hear they are early this year. Thats' an excursion that's hard to resist.

                                       *Photo above taken last year at the Tidal Basin*

Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday's Memories

This pink Barbie Car was a gift to my oldest granddaughter, from her mom and dad for Christmas one year.Her parents found it on ebay and had it shipped to our house, where it has "lived" in our garage ever since. I think Miss B was either four or five when they bought it for her and it has been used by each grandchild.

Whenever the children would come over to our house and the weather was nice, they would try to convince their Pop Pop to pull it out so they could drive it.

Even though it was pink, it appealed to both my granddaughters and grandson, and any other child that came to visit. Yes that is my grandson with that red hair!

When the two oldest were too big to ride in the car, they would run along as the two youngest girls took turns driving.

Sometimes it didn't turn out so well. This was a memorable photo.  I'm sure my son will pull it out when my granddaughter decides it time for her to learn to drive. No real harm was done to either car. We did get a lot of laughs over this. You see how fast Little Red is getting out of the car, she didn't want any part of the accident.

Last summer the girls drove the car when they came to visit. Little Red did just fine but Little Miss found it a bit cramped for her long legs, she managed however, she didn't want to miss the opportunity to drive the pink Barbie Car. It was apparent they were going to be too big for the car soon.

My daughter in law has given me the okay to sell the car, she doesn't think anyone will be small enough to drive it the next time they visit, but I'm not quit ready yet.

I hate the thought of the car leaving,  Maybe I'll get a chance to see a grandchild ride in it one more time before I have to let it go. Who knew there would be so many memories associated with a pink Barbie Car.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Thankful Thursday

Yesterday evening our small group from church met. Most of the time we will go over Sunday's sermon in these meetings, but last night our Group Leader had questions prepared that he wanted the group to think about and answer.

The first question out of the box, "What good thing has God done in your life this week?"
I hate to admit it, but I thought to myself, nothing good going on in my life, please don't ask me. I've been thinking a lot about that since. My attitude, was bad (sinful) I was so focused on the circumstances around me that I wasn't seeing any good in my life...really?!

God is good, always, and even though our circumstances may not be to our liking, he will use them for his purposes and for our good. I know this, his word says so, and I have experienced it during other times of my life.

My circumstances aren't likely to change any time soon. I have a choice, I can focus on the storm swirling around me and eventually sink (remember Peter) or focus on Jesus who commands the storms, by his strength I will focus on Jesus.

Despite the stormy waters we are in right now there ARE many good things, mercies and grace moments that I am thankful for

  • Sweet Lady continues to make slow but steady progress following her hip fracture. This week's x-ray didn't show any improvement but it didn't show any negative findings either. Therapy will continue and my friend will continue to help get her to those appointments.
  • My own Doctors appointment went well this week. My PCP  finally feels things have turned around since my surgery more than five years ago, and I don't have to go back to see her for for three months.
  • My son, has offered to sort and move furniture in my in-laws house while off on spring break. His willingness to give of his time has meant a lot.
  • Warm days and flowering trees. There is something about being able to get outside and marvel at the beauty of spring that refreshes my soul. I brought sandwiches to the park close to my husband's work the other day and we were able to eat outside.
  • I am thankful for my siblings that are doing what they can to help my parents. Mom celebrated her 85th birthday this week.
  • My Bible Study Fellowship. It has required commitment and time, which I have struggled with from time to time, but what a blessing it has been to us. It has helped me to refocus on things eternal when I started getting sucked into the here and now. (we are studying Revelation)
  • Finally I want to thank all of you that have prayed for me, I was so blessed and encouraged by the comments I received after my last post. I am thankful for this blogging community, for those that are willing to pray and encourage. This was an unexpected blessing when I started blogging five years ago. 
How about you, can you find the blessings amidst the difficulties of life, I know there are things you can be thankful for

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Season of Change

When it first started I didn't think our season of change would last so long. It started when my husband lost his father and our grandchildren moved away. Each event impacted us in a different way.We grieved the loss of the closeness of the grands and felt the added responsibility of keeping closer tabs on my husbands mom. Now that she is gone, there are different responsibilities and EMOTIONS that wash over me like wave after wave, I'm often caught by surprise.

In the midst of all of this, my parents health has been failing. My dad has had two significant events in the last six months, the last one happened just a day after my mother in law passed away. Life has changed for them, which means life has changed for us. I want to fix it but can't. 

When I look at the situations around me it is easy for me to get anxious, to despair, to be depressed or to even get angry. Thats what happens when I focus on the here and now. Some days I'm so bombarded by events that it's hard to focus on anything else. We need to keep our focus on things eternal.

I don't believe there are random events in this life. I believe the Lord orchestrates everything. I believe he is sovereign. I believe he is good and that he uses all things for those that believe and are called for his good purposes. Seasons of change are so hard but I am continuing to learn to trust him. He has proven himself faithful again and again, he will be this time as well.

The comfort of holding a child

Happy days at the Garden