Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Perhaps the Last Post of 2008

...but I have the entire night to reflect and so maybe it won't be the last post of 2008.

Earlier today I shared the following over at Antique Mommy's blog in response to her question about what would we remember about this Christmas.

I will remember this Christmas with a slightly sad yet grateful heart. What I will remember sadly is that for the first time in the lives of my 5 children they were not all physically’together’ for Christmas. But at least we were just a phone call,a text message,an IM, or even a web cam away from each other. One with a high risk first pregnancy in IL, One with a collapsed lung in a NJ hospital, One trying for 4 days ,stranded in an airport, to get home. One family with three little ones with pink eye and a stomach virus, and one family with a bad case of flu. Oh and have we shared the above love with others! :)

I will remember that for those of us who were together (sick as we were), we laughed and played and made the best of being together even in times of ‘not so great’!

I will remember that on the night that our Savior was born, Mary and Joseph had to travel outside of their comfort zone, they were away from family and friends, their lodgings were less than AAA approved, and yet there in the hay far from their home, a miracle, Christmas happened right there as that little “Stranger in the Straw” was born.

So yes, I will remember with a grateful heart, that regardless of our circumstances, Christmas will still be Christmas even if only in our hearts.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The First Decision of the new year, or the last decision of this year!

Given where we now live, going to NYC for the big crystal ball drop is probably not going to happen. Although this New Year's Eve, I am told that NYC is bringing in the coolest portable toilets! But I digress- here in the south we do things just a little differently. I must decide whether to go the Raleigh for the giant copper ACORN drop, (With droppings (( you know what I mean)) at 7:00 for the kiddies and 12:00 for the party goers), or should I go to Mt. Olive, home of the Mt. Olive pickle company and be there for the giant pickle drop?

Now if I still had small children at home I might lean towards the ACORN. But since I am older and very fond of pickles (although the story does not specify if the pickle is a Sweet Baby Gherkin, or a baby dill. I lean towards the sweet gherkins variety!) and since Mt. Olive is just down the road apiece, I guess the pickle drop would be my 1st choice. I know we won't have Dick Clarke or Ryan Seacrist for that matter. But perhaps the mayor will be there or the CEO of said pickle company. This one thing I know, 2009 is going to arrive regardless of what drops from where. And with the new year we all have new opportunities to make a change and a difference! Just like the differences that Raleigh and Mt. Olive are making with their unique answer to those in NYC! VIA LA DIFFERENCE!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Past...

It was the Christmas of 1950 in a tiny third floor tenement apartment in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. This was my first Christmas with Thelma, my then twenty something-single-mother. We had just come home from Plymouth, New Hampshire, where I was born in less than auspicious circumstances, in a hospital which has since been torn down, I might add. My grandmother had allowed Thelma to fix-up the tiny third floor attic apartment where we could live! As angry as my grandmother had been that my mother had become pregnant, all it took was one look at me to melt her heart! I can have that affect on people! :)

This is the early version of the porta-crib! Notice the statue of a saint in the window... this was during my short lived Catholic period, followed by the longer Episcopalian period.

In 1952 Santa and I had a great deal to talk about! When we gave a copy of this picture to my great-grandmother she proceeded to tear Santa out of the picture because, as she said "We don't know him" and indeed we did not!

Well, Santa came through and I received the BIG dolly I was longing for! Isn't she cute? Aren't we both cute? Check out the wallpaper and sofa contrast in flowers... my my my!

Christmas in 1955 or 56 in Miami, Florida and the last Christmas I would spend with my mother for many years! The next several Christmases I would spend surrounded by 15 or 16 "strays" all living in the care of Harry and Marie Ingals on 101st Street on the Northwest side of Miami, just over the bridge from Hialeajh. Those Christmases would the most secure of my childhood.

Wherever you spend this Christmas I pray it will be safe and secure and full of love and spent with those for whom you care deeply.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

100 Things That Make, Me Happy, Joyful and Thankful!

I was challenged by a fellow blogger and so this morning I have had so much fun thinking about these things... I am sure there are hundreds more but this will get you started! I wish each of you my readers a blessed Thanksgiving day. What makes you happy,joyful and thankful?

1. The sounds of birds in the backyard
2. The smell of fresh coffee
3. The feel of sand beneath my feet
4. The crunch of leaves in the fall
5. That picture of sun rays coming through the leaves on the trees with dust particles dancing on the rays.
6. The donkeys in the field near our home
7. The taste of the bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches that my mom used to make for me.
8. Seeing my grown kids laughing with each other
9. Having my husband spoil me the way he does
10. The sound of the tea pot whistle
11. The look from students when they ‘get it’!
12. Talking with good friends
13. Starbucks, grande skinny green tea latte, iced, with extra ice on the side please, and with a shot of espresso sometimes
14. Starbucks, grande skinny vanilla latte
15. Singing at church
16. Watching my grand kids ride in the wagon with G-pa
17. Reading a good book that I can’t put down
18. Staying in my pajamas on a day when I am not sick
19. The smell of clean laundry fresh out of the dryer
20. The smell of burning leaves in the neighborhood
21. The sound of the surf hitting the beach
22. Watching the waves roll in on a stormy day
23. The feeling of pride in a job well done!
24. Clean bathrooms
25. Fresh crispy sheets on my bed
26. Riding in the car on the back roads with my husband
27. Looking at the Rockies as you approach from Kansas
28. Seeing the Grand Canyon
29. Waiting for ‘Ole Faithful to erupt
30. The amazing joy of seeing each of my five children brought into the world healthy and the sound of that first cry
31. Seeing my old high school after forty years
32. The ‘discovering my roots’ tour with Sandy Hay
33. Listening to my mom laugh and talk when she was still alive
34. Spending the time right after work with my husband, having coffee, watching the news each evening.
35. The feeling that a fire in the fireplace gives me
36. Seeing historical sights and markers anywhere
37. Reading about the history of the places I have lived
38. Giving God the glory for my recovery from Guillian-Barre over 30 years ago
39. The memories of going to the mission field in Anguilla,St. Martin, Mexico City, and Puerto Rico
40. The joy of watching my kids travel to other mission fields
41. White fluffy terrycloth bathrobes
42. My amazing new bookcases, lovingly handcrafted by my amazing husband
43. Seeing each of my girls get married in amazing weddings each of their own design and personality
44. Remembering times at the alter in Bible college
45. Remembering all the people who took my kids and I in when we were on our own!
46. The joy of purchasing new furniture for the first time EVER last year!
47. The joy of signing papers on our 1st EVER home purchase last year!
48. The amazing story of how our kids surprised us with an extreme home make over before we moved in!
49. The feeling I get every time I drive up to my house!
50. Remembering the awesome trip home from Florida with my friend Carole- reading Lisa Samson’s book Women’s Intuition –aloud to each other all the way!
51. Remembering the trip by myself driving my 1987 pick-up truck all the way to Florida taking back roads and finding places I had lived as a child and discovering St. Simon’s for the first time. Incredible!
52. Staying overnight in Theime’s funeral home in 1971 being scared to death by the guys living there. Sleeping on sheets from the morgue! Ah!!
53. The miracle of wireless Internet, digital photography and the whole cell phone thing
54. The way my classroom smells after I clean it and put in new air fresheners
55. Decorating my classroom
56. The joy of owning special 1st editions of special authors and missionary books!
57. The taste of the first hamburger of the season from the grill
58. Meeting up with Carol Miller and Debby Kitts after 35 years and spending three days talking and laughing!
59. The thrill of knowing I have the whole summer off from school!
60. The joy of doing our taxes and getting a tax refund!
61. The fun of learning our way around a new town and a new culture!
62. The way a new baby snuggles and how a clean baby smells.
63. Knowing what Christ did for me!
64. Seeing my old teachers at the 40th reunion
65. Seeing Jo Daughtery my old high school youth group leader from church!
66. Seeing my high school friend Robin at the reunion
67. Listening to Garey play the piano
68. Listening to Garey play the drums
69. Getting my teeth fixed!
70. The feel of getting a manicure and pedicure
71. The feeling of walking out of the hair salon with a new cut and highlights
72. Traveling with Leslie and the Buoy Babes to Hilton Head
73. Seeing the whole family at the Christmas House!
74. The day I graduated with my Master’s Degree in 2007!
75. The day I FINALLY finished my Bachelor’s degree in 2005
76. The day Garey and I were married
77. Going to ‘Nana Camp’ at the beach with the grand kids!
78. Pecan pie
79. Watching parades – especially the bagpipers
80. Occasional football games
81. Blogging, Twittering, Facebooking, Texting (are those words?)
82. The smell of bacon frying
83. The excitement of our school accreditation visit going extremely well!
84. The joy of knowing I did a good job creating the Curriculum guides for the whole school, for every subject!
85. Surprises!
86. Fresh flowers
87. The thrill I used to feel whenever the yearbook made deadline.. and even more exciting when the books won awards!
88. The feeling of a good work out at the gym!
89. The way I used to feel riding horses across the fields in California
90. My old stuffed animal Starvel
91. Many of our pets through the years.. happy and sad
92. The way the house looks when it is especially clean!
93. The way house looks decorated for Christmas!
94. Remembering my Nana..
95. Knowing that getting older is a joyful thing!
96. My kitchen – even though I don’t really like to cook!
97. The pride I feel in each one of my children, Stephanie, Jennifer, Amanda, Jaime and Daniel!
98. The love I feel in my heart for each of my children, their spouses, my grandchildren and for my husband.
99. God’s grace on my life
100. Looking forward to Heaven – in about 32 + years!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Procrastinators's dream...

"Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task."
- William James

One of the things that keeps me from blogging as regularly as I would like to is that I procrastinate! Yes, it is true... I stall at getting started. And why after 58 years should this come as revelation? It is not revelation at all... I am the one who came within 3 credit hours of earning a degree in 1972 and then did not complete it for 33 years! But then I finished my master's degree in just under two years, so go figure! I am the one who purchased 50 yards of quilted material about 35 years ago to make place mats for everyone I knew and then made one set; gave out IOU's for the rest and proceeded to carry that 50 yards of material around the country with me for the next 30 years or so until I gave up and gave the whole shootin' match to someone else to finish. I am the one who learned to "hook" rugs from a kit, and after making one 12x12 square thought that I would hook rugs for the world and so purchased little rug kits for many, many people ... and well you get the picture. I purchased and gave "empty" scrap books to my children several Christmases ago with the promise of putting the pictures of their lives onto the pages and so far I have moved the scrapbooks (still empty) to two different states. I mean, I am the parent who has a barely - started baby book for child number 1, an empty book for child number 2, and no book at all for children 3,4, and 5 (although I think I did have calendars with stickers to show when they took their first steps etc.) . I buy cards for sick friends and fret over what to write so I can say the perfect thing and then do not send it until it is too late and they have already passed away! (This has really happened.. and just to show my friend Anne that I was thinking of her mother, I finally sent the cards.. years after her mother's death!)

Now in fairness to me there have been some mitigating circumstances... 5 children... total paralysis...(not the mental kind either) ... many moves...multiple jobs... oh and did I mention 5 children? But in reality procrastination seems to have come in my gene pool with a side order of perfectionism. There they are - the destructive fraternal twins... procrastination ism and perfectionism. Why even start something if it is not going to be perfect? I started this blog with the very notion that it indeed did not need to be perfect and then all it took was one off-handed quasi-critical comment about my bad spelling and grammar and since then fear has kept me from sitting down and blogging very often. Now the truth is that I know that my brain runs much faster than my fingers and so in my haste to spill the words onto the page, I often make mistakes. I tend to write like I speak-- in bits and pieces. But another part of my brain says... If you aren't going to make it perfect then don't even try! There has always been a war within me about things like this.

When getting ready to go on a trip I will procrastinate until about 9pm on the night before and then start cleaning like a woman possessed. I usually begin in the bathroom with the grout.. because, you see, if I die while on vacation and someone has to come into my house -- heaven forbid they should find dirty grout around the tub... next is the oven... then the mattress pads and clean sheets. I try to wash, dry and fold every piece of fabric in the house. I empty the trash and wash the trash can out. I vacuum and dust. Run the dishwasher, clean out the refrigerator and somewhere around 3 in the morning I decide to pack! My poor husband learned long ago that if he is going to get any sleep at all (he wisely goes to bed at 9:00pm) then he needs to make sure I take all luggage and clothing out of our room and into the living room where I can go through my OCD pre-travel ritual. All so that in the event of my demise... people might find my house "perfect"? Am I nuts? These would be the same people who already know that I am far from perfect! Now my husband will awake in the morning (@4:30 like always) refreshed from a good night of sleep, he will shower and pack his gym bag with about three days worth of clothes, turn off his computer and he is ready to go! (This took him about an hour-including his shower,coffee and breakfast). While I am still running around on about 2 hours of sleep, unplugging EVERYTHING, plugging in light timers, in an ridiculous attempt to make the house look occupied even though the WHOLE neighborhood knows we will be gone. This is why I don't travel very much.
I could write for days about how I procrastinate grading papers and writing lesson plans, but we can save this for another day.

So what on earth am I trying to say here? I don't think I will ever get over the procrastination/perfectionism dilemma. This blog will never be perfect.. it will still be sporadic because I of course still want it to be perfect and so will not write down half of what I would like to. Does any of this make sense to you? I have run spell check about four times so far. So do I publish this or not? Should I take a chance and run the risk of public criticism? You decide.... oh yea.. I will have to publish for this to happen.... hmmmmm I will re-read this a few times and think about it and then decide.

"Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task."
- William James

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Post Election Let Down Syndrome

Now that the election is over and we have a new bevy of elected politicians and a new president- elect, I believe I am experiencing post election let down syndrome. For almost two years we watched with interest as a parade of would be nominees made their way across our states and our television screens. For months we watched and taped the primary debates with a cast of characters on both sides of the aisle. We watched the conventions of each party as they selected their nominee. We listened to pundits rattle off endless issues and non issues. In the last months of the campaign we were inundated with more commercials than I thought even possible. We saw the mud being slung, character assassinated, and a liberal media crown their heir apparent. We watched a number of firsts; glass ceilings were cracked (whatever that means), racial barriers were torn asunder, and we saw enough money spent on advertising to run a small nation for a long time!
And then just like that - it was over. The candidates commercials stopped, the signs disappeared from the yards, the "news" went back to talking about Madonna or some other non news-news. It is all over for another election cycle. No more will we hear Kay Hagan say "I will let you know". There is no more talk of expensive wardrobes or haircuts, no more late night comedy gigs using the word "also" way to much!
I find myself channeling surfing more than usual. I am struggling to make conversation about... well anything. Everyone I voted for lost and I am sad for them. I am sad for me. I have been alive through several presidencies; Truman- I was a baby and he had already dropped the bomb on Japan. Eisenhower - former famous General, wife Mamie. Kennedy- a terrible tragedy, November 22, 1963- I was in the 8th grade. LBJ- never a favorite, but one of his daughters got married at the White House and so it all evened out. Nixon- oh the shame still burns on my face when I think about it. Gerald Ford- golfer, bad golfer. Carter- gas lines, a crazy brother who urinated in public. Reagan- now there was a president! George H W Bush- 1st desert storm one term wonder. Clinton- "He did NOT have ... "well you know the rest.
George Bush the current president- 9/11, Afganistan, Iraq,the Tsunami, Katrina, economic crisis, brought honor and integrity to the office, many would argue. So I have seen good, bad and horrible presidencies, 11 in all. But part of what makes this a great nation is that we still have a great nation oft times in spite of our ourselves. So we give each new guy a chance. We pray for him and wish him well and then we wait and see. .... In the mean time you will find me emerging from my post election stupor, battle weary, but still proud to be an American!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

You have got to be kidding right? In defense of books!

So recently I have been following the newest gizmo being offered for sale on . Now I am all for gizmos and gadgets. I mean I have an ipod,a laptop and a desktop computer,a cell phone, and a digital camera. But the lastest gizmo I think just might be the biggest bamboozal ever sold to a gullible people!( All political races aside) The gadget of which I speak is the "Kindle" offered by Amazon for the price of $359.00. The makers tout the product as;

Kindle: Amazon's Wireless Reading Device

"This is the future of book reading. It will be everywhere." Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball and Liar's Poker.

A wireless reading device... hmmm ... I might be going out on a limb here but is not a book a wireless reading device? All of my books are wireless! In fact that is one thing I love about them. I know, I know, the product is capable of downloading multiple books into the the little device, but it further promotes itself in this manner...

• Revolutionary electronic-paper display provides a sharp, high-resolution screen that looks and reads like real paper.
• Simple to use: no computer, no cables, no syncing.

Am I crazy or is a book not the same thing? Looks and feels like and IS real paper!
A book is simple to use and has no cables or wires either!
A book does not cost $359.00 dollars before the cost of downloads! Ahhhhhhhhhh

I was recently blessed with the most amazing set of hand crafted bookcases, lovingly built by my dear husband. Bookcases for BOOKS! Lots and lots of books! Now if he knew that a little device like the Kindle could replace the need for the bookcases he could have saved a good deal of money and a great deal of space... he just might have bought me the Kindle! But then where would I have put my dear books?

Now one day I might be forced into buying a Kindle in order to get a book and then perhaps the feel of paper will be a thing of the past! But until then I will visit the Library, go to the book stores, and lovingly take books from my new bookshelves and read their sweet pages. All without wires! I have the original Kindle... wireless reading is called a BOOK!

Monday, October 6, 2008

You Might be a Teacher if... love going to teacher convention.

On Wednesday of this week, all of the faculty will get on the bus; yes, the school bus, and will head off to the annual teacher's convention. Once there we will check into our little rooms with our designated roomies and then the big night out!
Yes, the faculty of the school where I currently teach will be more excited than you can possibly imagine about a trip to Cracker Barrel. Partly we are excited because someone else is picking up the check, but most of my colleagues are excited because it is Cracker Barrel. Now this would not be particularly funny, except for the fact that the previous two high schools where I taught while living in New Jersey did the exact same thing on the first night of teacher convention! It must be a teacher thing??? And just as a side note... I have yet to see any crackers in any barrels there.
On Thursday morning we will get up VERY early and jockey for position for the key note address. This jockeying comes in several varieties. There is the: send one person and about 50 programs or notebooks and save as many seats as possible as close to the front as possible variation. Then there is the send the seat saver variation. "Little sister seat saver" will take you out if you even think of sitting in her rows of "saved" seats. There is the LARGE mean looking male school administrator whose look will just make you turn around and go to the back of the LARGE convention hall variation.
Once seated we will enjoy singing a few choruses where everyone will sing at the top of their lungs and in as many parts as we can muster. I personally like this part. Once our key note session is over it is always fun to watch several thousand, mostly women, charge out the convention hall and scatter like lemmings looks for cliffs.
I should make mention here about teacher wear. It is at teacher convention that all of the teacher clothes come out of the closet! The cute jumpers and vests with pumpkins and leaves,the ABC's and the pencils and apples will also be in large numbers. There will be schools sporting their school shirts something closely akin to a corporate logo. No where else in the world will you see these fashions and you will never find out where to purchase these clothes. Actually I think that there is a great swap shop, where teacher clothes just keep being handed down from one generation to the next!
Right after the scattering we will find our way to the "sessions" or workshops where we will be schooled on a number of topics ranging from "Glue and Paste 101" to " What do you mean I can't have a grade book anymore and have to learn to do this on the computer?"
But the creme De la creme of teacher convention is visiting the vendors!!!!!! Here we find row upon row of an amazing assortment of vendors selling, giving or promoting just about anything you can imagine. There mixed with the textbooks publishers,are fundraiser pizza and cookie vendors. There will be colleges represented where you might NEVER send any of your children, and maybe a few where you might. There are always a number of camps represented who do outdoor education camps. And lest I forget to tell you.. it is here in vendor land that we get freebies! You might get free pens, and toys and books and t-shirts, food and tote bags in which to carry it all! At the end of the first day most of the free stuff is gone, but tomorrow there will be the endless drawings for the endless little pieces of paper you filled out hoping to win something REALLY big like a giant ruler or a bigger tote bag. This year I am hoping for the gas card give away! I must be a teacher... cause I just love teacher convention!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I am telling you... I could NOT make this up! Stand by for BREAKING NEWS!

Breaking News:

Fair not opening

Officials at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair have decided to not open the gates today, closing the midway and the exhibits because of the inclement weather.

However, the Open Junior Meat Goat Show will go on as scheduled at 6 p.m., but has been moved indoors.

Today was supposed to be...

Full story

Oh Thelma would LOVE this News Flash! Exactly what is an Open Junior Meat Goat Show?

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Falling is the what one does as fall begins. We are falling when we watch the leaves begin to descend from the tall trees. We are falling when we dig out the sweaters. We are falling when we long for fires in the fireplace. We are falling when we can breathe in the smell of burning leaves in someones yard. We are falling when we go for long walks down leafy paths. As today is the first day of Autumn I encourage you to do some falling. Maybe fall in love again with the season that brings out the best in many of us. For here in the south we must wait awhile longer for the leaves to fall and for the temperatures to drop. But for today I have lighted a fire in the fireplace anyway... even if the air conditioner is on! :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday Mornings... and Haute Cuisine Southern Style...

Saturday mornings have become for my husband and I, a special part of our week. We love spending time together and we love to go to the gym together... only not exactly together. We pack our little gym bags together, and we get into our car and drive together.. and then as we get 'to town'... I drop him off at the YMCA and I drive about 2 blocks further and go to Curves. So we do go to separate gyms together, simultaneously and at the same time, while maintaining a slight distance, based solely on my desire to not workout in front of some very scary patrons.

This routine has taken on a life of its own. My workout does not involve a hot tub,pool or a weight room and scary shower room, and so it does not last as long as my husband's routine. My routine is about 30 to 45 minutes long and so after sweating to the oldies it has become my treat to myself to go to Starbucks and to indulge in an Iced Skinny Green Tea Latte Grande! Yum... I had been enjoying the Iced Skinny Vanilla Latte Grande... but decided that the Green Tea Latte seemed somehow more healthy! What do you think? Anyway I digress... I then have about an hour and a half until my dear husband finishes his routine. This is when the morning gets really interesting!

I usually run a few quick errands and then I make a trip to Sam's Club. For those who may not be familiar with Sam's it is a warehouse club owned by the Walton family of Wal-Mart fame. Now the trip to Sam's for whatever it is I may need is NOT the highlight of my trip. The highlight is once I check out... after checking out with my purchases in tow I roll my cart past the "Sam's Restaurant". There right in front of the check out lanes is an array of metal and plastic picnic tables and VERY large trash cans. There is an ordering window where people order pizza and hot dogs and all manner of interesting cuisine. Now most every Sam's that I have ever been in has one of these food courts... without the rest of the court, but what sets this one apart from all of the others is that it is ALWAYS packed! I mean there are usually almost NO seats available! There are usually people lined up at the order window and most of the tables are full!

Now I have always been told that if you want to find the good restaurants in a town just look for the places that are always packed! Hmmmmm so I guess what I am trying to say is that if you come to see me here in the south... we just may have to go for a meal at Sam's Club. Don't worry I can get you in... I have a membership! :)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mothers of Five Unite!

Now that my five children are all grown, it is obviously easier to see things clearly in hind sight. But as questions of Sarah Palin's ability to be wife, mom, governor, VP candidate, etc seem to be swirling in the media... I feel compelled to answer! The answer is YES -- SHE CAN! Mothers of five are, if I may say so humbly, remarkable!
My own five children were born in 74,76,81, and twins - twenty-two months later in 83! By 1986 I was a single mother raising these 5 children on my own. I worked two jobs.. teaching in a small Christian school by day and cleaning factories,empty apartment complexes and office buildings by night.
We were generally in church on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, Wednesday nights and any other time the doors were open. We rationed food. We sometimes struggled to pay the bills. We had issues with teens. But never did it occur to me or to my children that this was something in which we could not succeed. The older children helped with the younger children, several family friends were there to help us when things needed repair or to lend moral support. But we did it! The five children put themselves through Christian college. Today four of them are married, one daughter has blessed us with three granddaughters, another daughter is expecting in February. My children all work, all have Bachelors degrees, two have Masters degrees and a third daughter is currently in grad school, one is a successful film editor, two teach at the college level, one works for a nationally known non profit, and one is an HR specialist. After they were grown I went back to college and now have my Masters degree.
I believe that Sarah Palin is MORE than capable of being a successful mom, wife , governor and Vice President of the United States. I think that the leading she has done with her five, gives her the ability to lead the world! She has the experience of being an expert in foreign policy while negotiating peace treaties between fighting children. She has been an expert on the economy while trying to figure how to feed five kids and a husband on a tight budget. She understands the energy needs of the world because of driving kids back and forth to more activities than you can shake a stick at. She understands the need for affordable health care, while trying to figure out how to get all those kids vaccinated. Hockey Mom ? Indeed... PTA Mom?... Indeed.... Leader of the Free World? ABSOLUTELY!

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Truth Is.......

With the disclosure today of the pregnancy of Sarah Palin's daughter, the blog world and all networks are a buzz with the news. The truth is that if this child had opted for an abortion, NO ONE would have known. But the decision of this young woman to carry and keep her child becomes a national news story. And why? Because her mother has been named Sen. McCain's running mate for VP. I applaud Bristol's parent's decision to publicly acknowledge the pregnancy and to support their daughter. This could become a battle cry by pro-lifers, to bring the plight of the unborn to the front! In another scenario this teenager might have had her pregnancy terminated without even her parent's knowledge. The murder would have gone unnoticed by media outlets and things would have continued without a blip. But with God there are NO accidents. Perhaps, just perhaps, this announcement might open the doors for open and honest discussion about teenage pregnancy and the rights of the unborn!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

VP Pick Candidate Sarah Palin... I love it!

Yesterday, Sen. John McCain picked long shot Gov. Sarah Palin as his VP choice. I know the experience issue has come up very quickly. But since Sarah Palin is a mother of five... I personally think she already has more experience than most people on the planet. She is no doubt a top negotiator, truce maker, economic strategist, home security expert,and the list just goes on. She is an evangelical Christian with a strong pro-life stand. She has tackled government corruption and she lives in the wildest state in the union! I am REALLY and FINALLY excited about the upcoming race! Go Sarah!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I mean I'm just saying...

When I am gone.. if you could please not double bungee cord the faded fake flowers to the top of head stone I would be most grateful! This just might come under the heading of ... "You know you might be in the South if...".

Saturday, August 23, 2008

When Time and Love are all that are needed to make a difference...

The face of an angel.... This is Jo Daughtery. Today Jo is 77 years young and still living exactly where I last saw her over 40 years ago.
The weekend I traveled back to Fallbrook for my reunion, I took a chance and went by the church that had given me sanctuary of a sort... and then just for grins I drove to the home of my former youth leaders. Ted and Jo had three girls of their own, yet always had room for twenty or thirty teenagers. Ted was a military enlisted man and he and Jo had dedicated themselves to be the VOLUNTEER youth leaders at the little Baptist church I attended. I knew that Ted had passed away many years ago, but I wondered.
I wondered if Jo might still be there, would the house be there? I found the house and parked and as I was getting ready to walk up to the door, a small women came out and asked if she could help me. I told her that she had already helped me and told her my maiden name! Jo was soooooo happy to see me and I was of course thrilled to see her. I just wanted her to know she had made a difference in my life.
She and Ted were just there for us. Their house was always open to us. It was a simple home and yet always and still spotless and yet comfortable. These amazing selfless servants fed us, fussed at us, drove us, let us play Twister in their living room, they prayed for us, protected us, stood up for us, and just loved us. Loved us when we were not so lovable. They gave so much and I just wanted her to know! Thank you Jo... much of who I am today I owe to you and Ted and a church willing to love a little girl from a less than stable background. Willing to give me rides, since I often came to church alone, willing to make sure I had something to add to potluck dinners so I wouldn't feel "weird", willing to listen, willing to pay my way to Christian camp in Glorietta, New Mexico where I became a Christian. Willing, available, and loving. Thank You Jo!

Obama selects running mate...hmmmm

For once there is no need for commentary!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Reunion Remembered...

Behind these same doors... were teachers who made a difference in my life!
Hey why did they pave the grass between the buildings?
The Duke's son Kevin went to school with us... when we were kids even the bowling alley was named after Duke Snider. The ball field seems like a better fit!
The football field looked GREAT...
And there on the water tower the year is still proudly displayed. We used to sneak up there and paint it when we were young... now the town does it for the kids to keep them from getting hurt!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Singing the school anthem! Priceless...

Remembering all the words... Miraculous!
"On a group of rolling foothills ... Stands a building we adore.
It's the Fallbrook Union High School ... One we'll love forevermore.
When we leave this school for greater and hail it's colors bright,
We'll not forget old Fallbrook and the dear old red and white!"

FUHS Reunion Class of 1968 Baby!!! Day 1

Could it really be that a week ago today I was in sunny southern California? I was whisked back in time to an era that was perhaps the happiest of my somewhat unique upbringing.

On Friday last I climbed aboard a Southwest flight from Raleigh and flew to San Diego via lay over in Denver. I arrived in beautiful San Diego at 4:30 in the afternoon, went to the car rental people and picked up my sporty, if not zippy, Ford focus. In minutes I was flying up the "5" towards Oceanside... okay, I was driving in 12 lanes of traffic ,which normally would terrify me, but it was rush hour and so people were going 35 miles an hour most of the way. This makes the whole term "rush hour" somewhat oxymoronic. Before leaving the sweet little rental car agent, I asked dumbly, "How do I get on Rt. 101 to Oceanside?" He then asked how long it had been since I had been in Southern California.... "well other than a quick weekend to Costa Mesa in 2005 ... ah... about 40 years I guess... what do you mean there are other ways to go north other than Rt. 101 or 395 ???" Silly me... but I digress. I arrived in Oceanside around 6 pm and drove straight to the apt. of a high school friend, whom I had not seen since graduation!
Robin had told me I could crash at her house for the weekend and so I was thrilled to have a safe place to stay and a friend with who I could talk about our high school years.

She was not planning to go to the Friday night event but I talked her into going. We followed our map and entered the secret code and found our way to the home of another classmate. When we drove up, we knew we would be late and were not certain where the house was exactly, but as we got closer we encountered Allen DeLong's classic 1956 Chevy and we knew we were in the right place.

We arrived about a half hour late.... but found our name tags.. (Thank goodness for whomever thought of putting our senior pictures on the name tags) and went out to the back yard. And there before me were about 75 former classmates and spouses... How had all these other people gotten so old.??... surely I will not recognize any of them .. but they will no doubt have NO problems recognizing me!!!HA! I mean how much might I have changed in 40 years?? Hmmm, well I have gained about 30 lbs, I have highlighted hair now, hiding the white and gray, glasses (darn... should have worn the contacts), and oh yes, a chest
(regardless of where it might actually reside now.. should have worn the wonder bra.. drat!)... which I certainly did not have in 1968!

Some people remembered me...but most of my group of girlfriends were NOT there! A few of the guys on whom I had huge crushes in high school were there, not that they ever knew that of course. And well to see them now... I am just as glad maybe nothing ever came of my day dreams. I guess it brought home to me that in fact I was not very "popular" in high school. I was not athletic, I was not in the band, I was not a cheerleader type, I was not academic. I was in choir ... I did like school... I was just not very good at it. Early on I had been labeled as "not college material" and so I seemed determined to live up to some guidance counselor's expectations of me!

But now it is forty years later and I found myself doing much the same thing as I did then... I would have loved to have been in the thick of things, but found myself sitting on the outskirts and observing. Don't think that I was not having a great time.. I really was. I was wonderful to see the amazing way in which the organizers had put the whole thing together. Our host's home was absolutely beautiful, both inside and out. And I did enjoy talking with people... after a few hours I could not figure out why I was sooooo tired and I looked at my watch and it was still on
Eastern Standard Time and it was 2:15 AM. even though the night was still young on the other coast! Stay tuned for my Saturday and of course the BIG EVENT!

to be continued...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hysterical Markers!!!

There is just something about historical markers that bring out the kid in me! It does not matter where or when I see one, I shriek and holler and beg for whomever to pull to the side of the road so I can at least read the piece of history that has been summarized into a few words. There in molded metal along the highways and back country roads of our nation are pieces and snatches of our past. Here along Route 301 on the property of Fort AP Hill is a marker of infamy.

Local History... Who knew

Part of the assimilation process of living in a new area is getting to know the local color and history of an area. In recent days we have made several great discoveries. The stumbled across the Whitehall Battle site in Seven Springs and yesterday we visited the Charles Brantley Aycock birthplace in Pikeville, NC. Aycock was an early governor of North Carolina and is considered by many to be the "Education governor".


Nothing says summer like a trip to Sprinkles! Sprinkles is an old fashioned ice cream shop. Every now and then G-pa treats and we all get ice cream! My personal favorite is White House Cherry... and sometimes Denali Moose Tracks! But watching little ones enjoy ice cream is a joy in and of itself!!

The Joy of Nananess...

Every now and then grand-mother-hood brings moments of sheer JOY! Yesterday was one of those days! Now it has been many years since I tried to wrangle three 'six and unders' but for a bit yesterday I was transported back to another place and time.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Us!

One year ago we signed on the dotted line and became first time home owners! It has been an incredible year of joy and blessings. We love our home,our jobs,being near part of the fam and yes, even many of the "Southern" ways.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Look at Miss Potter

Rarely one to tout the virtues of any film, I thought I would take this opportunity to rave about a movie already available on DVD. Miss Potter is a film starring Renee Zellweger, and Ewan McGregor. While it did not do particularly well in the theater, this is where I saw this film treasure.
If you have children or have ever been a child, then you have no doubt been exposed to Beatrix Potter, the beloved children's author and illustrator. The film is a unique look at the life of this amazing woman. The directors have carefully woven film and animation together ever so gently that you are almost not even aware that it is happening. The movie also gives you a glimpse at the beautiful Lakes region of the UK.

This film is one to own and one to watch again and again. I have linked to the movie trailer which should whet your appetite to see this movie!
And for those who are not film fans, there is also Miss Potter, The Novel by Richard Maltby Jr.,which is published by F.Warne and Co.. This is the same publishing house which published all of Beatrix's books! (A touch of irony there I believe)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Time Out...

Since last Wednesday it feels as though I have been sent to "time out". A recent injury has left me spending way more time sitting than I am used to. But time out can be a good thing. Forced limited mobility makes us refocus on what is important. And as it turns out, there seems to be few outward things in my life that are really all THAT important.

The things we often spend our time running around like crazy to accomplish are usually not critical to life and sanity. There are so many things going on in the world right now that are important, there are things that do matter for eternity. But my momentary "time out" has given me time to think about what is important. What is important is our relationship with God,and our relationship with our family and friends.

Right now there are families facing grief, pain and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The world is facing heart wrenching disaster and I am spending a few days in "time out" to reflect and to count my blessings!

And what I still need to do will no doubt be waiting for me when I get back :)

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Perfect Day...

Today was a perfect day! The weather was absolutely beautiful, a cool breeze blew most of the day and even though the temperature reached the low 80's at some point, it was never hot or humid. We accomplished all that we set out to do and the day ended with a freshly grilled hamburger, and a time rocking on the front porch! Can life get any better than this? ahhhh summer!

The three day weekend!

There was a time in our nation when even one day off was considered a luxury. Men and women and sometimes even children worked 16 and 18 hour days, six or seven days a week.

Somewhere along the way we were given the 8 hour work day and a 5 day day workweek. Every weekend we have two days in which to rest,relax, worship and do all of the other projects that need to be done. So then why is it that when we are given a 3 day weekend we seem to get so many more things finished? Yes, one additional day is great, but what we seem capable of accomplishing is exponentially greater than the one day really gives us!! It is a synergistic mystery! The sum is greater than the parts of the whole! I am not sure that the same principle would be the case if we had a three day weekend every week.

As for me, I am thankful for the weekend, thankful especially for the chance to remember the men and women who have sacrificed for me.

I do miss the Memorial Day parade that used to come down Cooper Street each year right in front of our house. I miss the bag pipers playing and the marching bands. But I will take the tranquility of our southern neighborhood any day! I am going to go hurry and enjoy every last minute of my long weekend!

In Memory of...

Memorial Day always evokes images of flag draped caskets and bugle players for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. It is not often I speak of my step father with respect or honor, but on Memorial Day it is only fitting that I should remember that Donald Edward Krueger was on active duty in the United States Navy when he died. While his death was not considered war related, he did die while serving his country. He had just returned from a year of duty in Okinawa and was on the verge of being promoted to Chief Petty officer. Donald Krueger was a corpsman who had made a career of Navy life. Those who worked with him called him pappy. Somewhere I have the medals he received in combat. When Donald Krueger died there was a simple military funeral at a graveyard in Wisconsin. A life lived and died in service to our nation. I remember...

Friday, May 16, 2008

A New Season

In the scheme of things seasons come and seasons go. Spring is about to give way to summer and with it our fourth daughter will marry. Weddings are always interesting times in families. It will either bring out the best in people or bring out the worst or maybe somewhere in between. So far we have been so blessed with the men our girls have married and we are sure it will be the same with the one to join the club this summer.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Somewhere I have at least one brother...

...and today is his birthday! This brother would be two years older than me, so that would make him 60 I think! I have not laid eyes on John Edward Krueger since I was in the 8th grade. That is about 45 years give or take one. John was my step-brother for about three years while his father and my mother were married.(Long depressing story). When his dad died he moved back to Wisconsin with his mom and four other siblings and I never saw him again. I did talk to John on the phone about 14 years ago. He was still living in Wisconsin, had never married, and was going back to school. He had overcome obstacles in his life and was on the road to recovery. We each had memories which were less than fond of our step-parents, but at least for awhile he was my brother and so...

John, I wish you a happy birthday and a wonderful rest of your life. I pray that God grants you the peace you seek and gives you the desires of your heart.

Your pesky little sister,


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Who knew?

So today I learned that a word I have used my entire life is in fact NOT a word at all! Who knew? Today while typing the "word" pronunciate, we kept getting the dreaded red underline. Thinking perhaps that I had used the word incorrectly I checked and re-checked only to learn sadly that pronunciate is in fact not a word. You can pronounce, you can ask for a pronunciation, but alas pronunciate is not a word. Now enunciate is a word and perhaps somewhere along the way some teacher of mine merged the two and 'coined' pronunciate. So now I find myself feeling very guilty for leading so many students astray. However, will I begin new vocabulary lessons from now on? Okay, students turn in your vocabulary books and pronounce the following words correctly being careful to enunciate each word carefully.

Side note: Even now the non-word is red-lined before my eyes four times! AHHHHH!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Poverty Czar??!!!???

Are you kidding me? While most of the time I stay away from discussing politics in a public forum, today I feel I must make at least a comment about something Hillary Clinton said today. While watching an interview conducted by a reporter from a Raleigh station, Mrs. Clinton said that the way she would combat poverty in the US would be to immediately appoint a POVERTY CZAR... can someone say OXIMORON? Wasn't the Russian Czar deposed by poor people precisely for being the CZAR? Is not the very connotation of the word Czar, the words, MONEY, RICHES, etc?
And just who would Hilary appoint to the lofty postion??? Donald Trump, Warren Buffett? Bill Gates? Would the CZAR have a CZARISTA? What would the first act of the POVERTY CZAR be? A proclamation banning poor people? An opening of the national treasury giving all of the poor gasoline for a year?
PLEASSSSE Mrs. Clinton give us a break!

Monday, May 5, 2008

It's like riding a bike... it all comes back to you!

Riding a bike is the thing we never forget how to do. And so once again we have brought out the bikes and went for our first evening ride. Racing through the neighborhood tonight I was reminded of long ago learning to ride my bike circa 1955. I remember my aunt and uncle buying me a three speed which was too big for me and we tried and tried to get me going. After several rounds of skinned knees and wounded pride they finally bought me a used no-speed bike with a much smaller frame. Once they got me over the fact that the "new"/"old" bike would just be a training bike, I overcame my fear and started to ride. Once they were sure I was doing well on the used bike, the original gift reappeared and I was off and riding. Little did I know that 52 years later this would be a skill I would still possess and actually use!
This strikes me as a great life lesson. How often do we learn a skill and regard it as unimportant, only to later realize that it is something we find needful,useful or at the very least, enjoyable. So what skills have you long ago abandoned? One I intend to resurrect is surfing. Now it has been well over 30 years since I tried to get up on a board, but I know I still have it in me! I wonder if there is a Granny Surf Camp for which I can sign up? Another acquired skill was that of the monkey bars... now this skill, unlike bike riding, I do not see in my future!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Roller Rue, Anna and Emma Grace too...

Years ago when our own children were young, my husband took great joy in taking them roller skating. Amanda,Jaime and Dan would chase him around the roller rink and they became good little skaters. So recently Garey suggested that he might take our two oldest grand-daughters roller skating. Yesterday was the big day... we went to the rink and I was able to watch as the girls started the process of learning to skate. Emma Grace is 4 and Anna is 6. They each brought skates of their own. Emma realized very quickly that if she was going to learn to skate she needed the skates like the other kids were wearing. Anna was content to wear her own shoe skates.
The part that made me laugh was watching the girls hang on to Garey for dear life! After 15 minutes Gar was sweating like he had been working out for an hour. When the large stuffed Kangaroo called Roller Rue skated out, Emma Grace said she did not want to skate with him. She watched carefully until Roller Rue skated back into his closet! Anna observed that the boy behind the skate counter, went into the closet before Roller Rue came out and the boy came out of the closet only when Roller Rue went back into the closet. So she cleverly deduced that indeed the boy from behind the counter and Roller Rue were one in the same!
In less than an hour the girls were ready for a snack and they were very tired. We think their arms were probably more worn out than their feet.
We are will no doubt go back to the rink when G-pa recovers! :)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

New Opportunity to Pray

There is a baby now in Boston who has had open heart surgery and who is now on a heart and lung machine and is in need of a heart transplant. The young mom is a close friend of my daughter Jennifer. Her grandfather is the director of America's Keswick in New Jersey. Please join with the thousand who are praying for Lindsay!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thelma's Birthday...

April 16th, 1928 a baby was born to an Irish maid named Annie Johnson. She worked, we believe, for a wealthy Mass. businessman and his family. How Annie found herself in the "family way", we are not sure, but she took her new baby daughter to a foundling home. When the baby was just a few weeks old she was given to her adoptive parents, Harry and Lottie Kay. They had longed for a child of their own and had lost several children to miscarriage and still-birth. Here at last they had their baby girl. Why they named her Thelma, I will never know, but they did and little Thelma Marion Kay took her place in the world. Although not wealthy people, the Kays showered Thelma with everything they could possible give her. She had dance lessons and piano lessons. Lottie was an amazing seamstress and so Thelma always had beautiful dresses. The little girl loved her parents, but was daddy's girl. She excelled in school earning A's. In high school Thelma took four years of French and four years of Latin. She excelled in the maths and sciences. She was involved in drama and oratory clubs and was a voracious reader. Thelma never missed a chance to dance and did whenever she had a chance. By the time high school graduation came around she had earned a full scholarship to Brown University.

But as she prepared to go to college her beloved father suffered a severe stroke and was sent home to die. Thelma stayed home part of that year to care for her dad and entered nursing school shortly after his death.

Thelma spent almost 50 years as an RN and she was an amazing nurse! She worked in every imaginable area of nursing. In the later years of her life's journey she worked for the Indian Health Service in Barrow, Alaska. She loved the Inuit people and the wild world of the land of the midnight sun. In her early 60's she kayaked alone down an Alaska river from one town to another. She tracked moose for 10 days walking into the mountains with just a pack horse and a gun.

I was Thelma's only child, but she had a host of friends whom she loved and who loved her in return. She had five grand-children who have become amazing adults. She would have loved watching each of them graduate from college. She would have loved going to their weddings. One time a reporter in Cripple Creek, Colorado when writing about the old hospital there, wrote of my mother... "She could light up the darkest corner of the old building." And so she did! Even in her final days she brought laughter to those who were with her. If you ever complained to Thelma about some pain or illness she would use her best New England/faux Irish accent and say "Well, now I'll tell you one thing for sure... It's a long way from your heart!"

It has been over ten years since Thelma left the planet. I miss her so much. There are great-grand children she never got to fuss over, there are new in-laws she would have adored,and there have been so many life events that she would have just been crazy about.

So tomorrow is your birthday mom... you would have been 80 going on 40! :) I love you and miss you!


PS I will tell more of your story in a future post! Yes, I will try to get it right, and no I won't tell everything, I promise!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Blog dependent...

Just like a patient can become ventilator dependent or ICU dependent I think I have become somewhat blog dependent. These last weeks and months I have become blog dependent while following the story of the Lawrenson's. Just like the serial movies of long ago.. I check the computer many many times a day waiting praying and watching for an update on Tricia's condition or that of the baby, the next installment if you will. And so as Tricia becomes less and less dependent on the ventilator and as the baby becomes bigger and stronger and less dependent on feeding tubes it is only fitting that all of those of us who have been part of their journey should also start to be weened. The day is coming SOON when the family will be going home and start living a "normal" life. We will continue to pray but we will never forget the faith and courage we have seen in the lives of this young family.

Until then I am going through withdrawal when Nate takes a blogging break! AH!

Story of Starvel...

I recently heard from an "old" college roommate who remembered my 'friend' Starvel. Starvel was a stuffed dog that was given to me during my childhood. I hauled that poor dog around for so many years! I named him "Starvel" because even when he was new he looked like someone had starved him. I loved that dog. He was the one constant in a childhood that offered few constants of any kind.

Today I am blessed to have a life of so many constants. The constant love of my savior, the constant and undying love of my husband Garey, the constant love of my five grown children, and of course the love of my grandbabies!

So whatever happened to Starvel? Sadly someone who will forever not be named, made me part with my faithful friend long ago. But that is okay, God certainly is more than enough!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Reason to Rejoice!

We continue to rejoice with Nate, now that his wife Tricia has received her glorious gift of new lungs. The days and weeks to come will still need much prayer. Continue to intercede for this family.

I remember years ago when I was in ICU for many months that some people prayed just for our finances to be taken care of. Even when there was much doubt as to if I would live or not, there were many who just kept praying that God would cover all of the bills!

This has been my prayer of late for Nate, Tricia and the baby. The last thing these sweet young people need is horrific debt. So we pray that God would supernaturally take care of EVERY medical bill for both the baby and Tricia! I believe that they have insurance, but as with all insurance policies, there are always things that are not covered and so we ask the Lord to do what only He can.

Nate has so much on his plate right now, but keeps standing watch for his girls. Visit for the most recent updates!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Pray for Tricia tonight!!

The transplant surgery has started for Tricia. Now Nate must wait for the next 7-9 hours as the team operates. Please keep Tricia, Nate, baby, and their families in prayer tonight! Pray also for the donor family!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Painful contrast...

Today we passed a painful mark in the war on terror. Over 4,000 of our nation's finest young men and women have now been killed while serving in Irag and in Afghanistan.

I remember hanging a list in my classroom as the first 19 and then the first 150 were killed. I remember telling those students that the day would come when the list would be too long to hang and when the names would start to blur and just like during the Vietnam war we would find ourselves becoming somewhat numbed to the daily reports.

I believe in the war we are fighting, I personally know one young Marine who is now a quadriplegic because of his valor, but I cannot help but wonder if any of those students from 2003 remember my words? And does that really matter?

By way of contrast I remember during high school as more and more young men from our town went to Vietnam and how sad we were when word reached us that friends were being drafted and sadder still when some did not come home. And then the day came when my boyfriend was drafted. That notice altered the forever in our after.

I suppose what matters most is that there are still young people in our country who are willing to sacrifice for our nation! We pray for those young people and their families. We pray for those families who have lost a loved one!

May God bless America!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Book Review... Is a review really a review if you have only read half of the book?

Hmmmm Anyway today I am reading Embrace Me by Lisa Samson. Any of you who know me well know that she is perhaps my favorite contempory author. Her new book will make you think about forgiveness in new ways. The story is told from two voices and from two time periods. One character a run-away preacher searching for himself and God. The other voice is that of Valentine... Val and her best pal Lella are side show artists. Val is the Lizard woman and Lella is a woman born without arms or legs. How the stories are woven together is perfectly classic Samson! Believe me you will not want to put this book down! Visit Lisa's website:

Story of Me ... Part IV... Early memories

One of my earliest memories was that of visiting my great-grandmother! For the life of me I do not even know for sure if this was my grandmother's mother or my grandfather's mother.. but I tend to think she was my grandmother's mother. She was confined to a wheelchair by the time I was born. I remember a day playing on the floor near the large wooden- high-backed wheel chair with grandmother sitting there looking stern with a white gown or day dress on. She had gray hair that was pulled up into a bun and I remember her reaching down and giving me red plastic coasters to play with. I do not know much about her except that I am pretty sure her name was Elizabeth Browning without the Barrett. I must have only been two or so when this took place but I can still see and feel the moment. We still lived in Rhode Island and there are several snatches of memory that go with this time period.

Another memory is of going to Little Compton in the summer to the ocean. I remember the little cottage we would rent and I remember the pattern of the linoleum floors that my mother would sweep each day to remove a layer of sand. I remember going to an eatery that was sort of outdoors. It served fish and chips and lobster and there were no tables, just counters the went all around the outside with stools that turned back and forth. We would make these treks to the beach with my "Aunt" Dot and my "cousin" Ricky. Dot was my mom's best friend and Ricky was Dot's son. I do not know why we called non-relatives by relative names back then but it seemed the thing to do. In the coming years there would be many more non-relatives I would call by relative names!

Wally Swett....

Today I have been reading a new book and it has reminded me of an amazing young man I met in college. Wally Swett was the yearbook editor at CBC one year. I considered Wally a friend. The first thing you noticed about Wally Swett was how comfortable he was in his own skin, the second thing was that he did not have complete arms. Wally never considered this to be a disability! He never complained about what he couldn't do, because for the most part there was almost nothing that he couldn't do! (double negative there somewhere).

I hope he is well. He taught me valuable lessons about life and living! He taught me look past the seeming disability and see the ability! Thanks Wally..

7 Things...

7 Things You Probably Don't Know About Me! Idea borrowed unashamedly and with permission from Nate's blog!

1. I LOVE to learn new things... not formal things like math or data, but I am huge on just knowing interesting stuff about a myriad of topics. This makes me a fierce living room Jeopardy player! When taking a Strengths test recently- Input - was perhaps my greatest strength.

2. Surfing was one of my passions in high school. I lived in Southern California and although I was never a great surfer- I loved it! I think I could still get up on a board although for this grandmother this would be an amazing feat for the feet and for the rest of the body!

3. Riding was perhaps my other passion in high school. We owned horses and I taught riding for several summers at Rawhide Ranch in Bonsall, CA.

4. Studying the lives of unique missionaries has become almost an obsession, although a closet one. I have managed to purchase almost all the antique books available about and by Amy Carmichael and Lilias Trotter. I am currently searching for a book about JW Tucker missionary to the Congo.

5. Another secret hobby is reading about and studying the great revivals in America and elsewhere.

6. If you meet me at school or church or see me at an event where I might be speaking or singing, I am really very shy. I know the talking and laughing and seeming boldness is at odds with that statement, but I am really very very shy. When they do that 'everyone turn and shake someone's hand thing' at church I almost always sit down and want to crawl under a pew or chair! ( as an aside) The last two weeks at church because of flu concerns they have been having everyone "wave" at someone during this part of the service. And last week the woman making this announcement said "maybe you just want to reach out and RUB someones shoulders"!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I don't think so! So see I am really not very outgoing!

7. If something were to happen to Garey (my husband), and I hope it never does, but just in case, I want someone to know I will go to a mission field somewhere until I am to old to be of assistance! There is a sweet woman named Margaret who is 90+ and who has gone to the Evangelical School for the Deaf in Puerto Rico, EVERY winter for the last, who knows how many years and just serves where she can! This is why I am trying to find somewhere to learn sign language! :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

For Tricia...I can't wait until you get to...

Because I used to teach with Jeff Prentiss in NJ and because Janet ( Tricia's sister) was my daughter's field hockey coach I have felt very connected to Nate and Tricia since the beginning of this adventure.

Because I spent many months, many years ago, completely paralyzed from the eyes down (Guillian-Barre syndrome.. a long blog for another day!) on a vent, and a feeding tube too.. and because I raised five children and had two little ones while I was paralyzed...

I can't wait ....

... until you can sing (with new lungs) to Gwyneth Rose.

... til just mother and daughter have that special alone time in the middle of the night, even though you will be so tired.

... until you get to hold the baby without the tubes, gloves, gowns, masks and hospital smells.
Sweet baby smells are so wonderful, hospital smells, ah not so much. Okay not all baby smells are wonderful, but you get the idea.

...put Gwyneth in the car seat for the trip home from the hospital. This is not for the faint of heart! :)

...try giving her the first bath at home. Those little ones are very slippery and squirmy!

... until you all can go to church together for the first time.

...go shopping with the baby stroller, stopping over and over as total strangers want to know all about the baby.

...go back to the hospital months from now just the say hello to the staff who have cared for you both.

...take your dream vacation going back to Hawaii with Gwyneth, hmm a 15 hour flight with a toddler hmm .. maybe not! with all of the firsts... rolling over, pulling up, crawling, walking. Each victory for her is your victory too.

...until the day comes when you can tell her all about her miracle story and yours!

I really can't wait... but I know from experience that our answers often take time.. in the mean time I will keep praying and trusting along with you!

Continue to keep Nate and Tricia and Gwyneth in your prayers and visit Nate's blog for updates at

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Class Trip to DC

In the morning I will arrive at school before 7:00 am in order to meet the junior class for a three day trip to our nation's capital. I have always loved taking students on these trips, partly because I have always loved history. My children years ago started calling the roadside historical markers, hysterical markers, because they say I get hysterical every time I see one. :)

This trip we plan to visit the Holocaust museum, take a moonlight tour of all the major monuments, take a VIP tour of the capital, go on a tour of the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, see the National archives, quickly see the Smithonian air and space museum,walk to the Arlington cemetary and lastly tour the National Zoo, Pandas here we come!! There will also be some time for ice skating and of course eating and shopping!! There will probably be a prank or two pulled on the teacher! :( Remind me to tell you about the prank pulled last year! (Different school, different students) Be still my heart.

When I get home on Wednesday night, I will have walked many miles, laughed a great deal with some great kids and once again come away with the awe that I have everytime I visit the nation's capital. One of my favorite things to do while in DC is to take photos of all the places where I find the Word of God etched in stone throughout the city! I pray that the day NEVER comes when those words are chiseled out of those stones!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Story of Me ... Part III

Once my mother and I were back in Rhode Island it was important for my mother to establish a seemingly normal life for us. We moved into my grandmother's tenement house. Our little apartment was on the third floor. While I do not remember the incident, it has been said that either my "Nana" or my mother would bundle me up and place me in the carriage in the back yard. They would then hook a clothes line with a bell that went all the way up to the second and the third floors. That way they could leave me unattended and if I woke up or squawked the bell would ring and someone would climb down the stairs to make sure I was okay. Can't imagine anyone doing that today!

Thelma went to work at the Bulova watch company as the company nurse. I was farmed out to a wonderful older couple, Harold and Margaret Dickenson. Aunt Margaret and Uncle Harold, as I was to call them, were wonderful to me in the early years of my life. Between my Nana, my mother,Aunt Margaret and Uncle Harold, I was very much loved. Uncle Harold loved 'lawn bowling' and I vaguely remember him taking me on occasion to the old men's lawn bowling club.

My grandmother had two sisters... My aunt Dot and my aunt Edna. For reasons almost beyond my understanding, my aunt Edna and my grandmother did not speak to each other, this being due to a mantle clock which belonged to my great-grandmother. I do not remember which sister actually ended up with the clock at my great-grandmother's death, but I do know that the two never really were close after that. What a shame. My aunt Dot on the other hand was a very funny woman with many children and grand children who all lived close to one another in Central Falls, RI. This was the extended family I grew to love as a toddler.

From My List of Things to do before I turn 95...

On the list was the following item... Learn to use my DVR! I am proud to post that with help from my son Dan and my son-in-law David, I have learned to push the (duh) record button and wa la... I am at the moment recording an episode of the Tudors!
Now that was not very hard, was it? So we will take this item from the list and find another for its place!
Thank you for understanding the plight of the technology challenged!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tricia has been listed and activated for her transplant!

As we continue to watch the Lawrenson's miracle unfold I have been thinking of this song.

"This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me

This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me

And I I'm desperate for you
And I I'm I'm lost without you"

As I have followed their story I am aware that their desire is about so much more than medical miracles. My faith has been challenged in new ways as I have read this young couple's walk through the 'valley of the shadow'... trust!

Join the multitudes who are praying for Tricia's transplant and the baby's complete recovery. Pray also for the future donor and family.
Visit Nate Lawrenson's blog ....