Birthday blessings…

Birthday blessings…

Today is my birthday.  I was born in a small town in the Delta of Mississippi, the youngest of four daughters.  When you get to be THIS old, you become a little nostalgic about your life:  your family…what you’ve accomplished – or didn’t accomplish – and whether or not you should just toss the proverbial bucket list.  I’m blessed.  I know that beyond a shadow of a doubt.  I have a wonderful husband, amazing children and grandchildren.  I have precious family and friends scattered throughout the states.

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aptWe are happily settled in our apartment in the Chicago neighborhood of Ravenswood.  My youngest son and his family is a short 3 block walk away from our apartment.  Tonight, we will be there for my birthday dinner.  Quaint shops – and a Starbucks – are just a short walk away.  Thanksgiving dinner was here in our small apartment- all eight of us.  Doug and I cooked the ham, turkey and cranberry salad and everyone else brought the sides.  My three and five year old granddaughters decided they would rather be at the “grown-up’s table”.  We moved them there and everything was perfect.

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Doug’s ninety-seven year old mom went home to be with the Lord on October 10th.  It was a beautiful service in the Lutheran church where Doug grew up.  She would have loved the amazing blanket of Autumn flowers – accented with yellow roses – that covered the casket.  We miss her.

sch_noitems_leafI’m in the process of taking photos of our small apartment and will be sharing them soon.  In the meantime, we are enjoying our time with our family here before we head back to Iowa for a few weeks.

 

 

Joyful whirlwind…

Joyful whirlwind…

While my goal is to post faithfully to Sweet Journey Home, life has certainly been a joyful whirlwind these past few months with very little time on the computer.

Late May, my firstborn grandchild graduated from high school.  As we watched him march into the large auditorium with his class, I realized – once again – that time marches on as well.  Early summer, we traveled to Chicago where we had a wonderful time with our sons and their families.  In July, we enjoyed having my precious granddaughter Sarah here for ten days and then the three of us traveled to Wyoming where we met my oldest son and his family in the Grand Tetons.  (Except for my sixteen-year-old granddaughter Noelle who spent the summer in Peru working in an orphanage and the medical clinic that my son started there!)  We all spent some fun time in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Doug enjoying mountain biking with my son and his family.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t had quite as much experience as they have coming down the mountains.  Halfway down the trails in the mountain bike park, Doug fell and broke three ribs!  Needless to say, that put a damper on our trip and ended his mountain biking career!  Early September, we returned to Chicago to celebrate birthdays for my now three and five year old granddaughters.

Our nimg_6549-1ewest adventure???  We have leased an apartment in the neat little neighborhood of Ravenswood in Chicago!!!  We will spend at least half-time there and half-time in Iowa until we’re just too old to travel and that should be a long time since the Mega Bus is always an option!  We will actually be able to WALK a few short blocks to see these two precious granddaughters in the photos!  With two sons and their families in Chicago, we think this is an awesome idea and we are so excited about it!  Our new apartment is on a tree-lined street and in what is rated as “a walker’s paradise” – which simply means we will be a short walking distance to the train, Starbucks, many quaint little stores and restaurants.   The apartment is in a vintage, gated U-shaped set of buildings that were built in the 1930’s I believe.  We’ve purchased a few antiques for the apartment in keeping with the vintage theme.  The buildings and lawn are well kept with trees and flowers.  It’s just down the street from the mayor’s house so, hopefully, that’s a good thing.  There is so much to see and do in Chicago – including a host of museums we’ve yet to visit.   Most importantly, there will be more time with our big family in Chicago and we are thrilled about that!

I will be sharing our Chicago adventures and a lot of pictures on a brand new blog (not yet underway) at:  http://www.homesweethomechicago.net

Time…

Time…

I’ve always been fascinated with “time”.  It’s a simple concept really.  The world turns…the hands of the clock go round and round…and time passes.  The movement of time seemingly at a snail’s pace when you’re young and then on the wings of an eagle as time literally flies by as one gets older.  All of a sudden – or so it seems – you’re a grandmother.  You wonder where in the world all that time actually went.  And suddenly you realize there are only so many decades left on this earth…God willing.

A few weeks ago, I “babysat” my two oldest grandchildren while their dad was at one of the “March Madness” games in Ohio and their mom and younger siblings were at a swim meet in Minneapolis.  A fifteen year old and a seventeen year old just aren’t interested in sitting on bleachers all day and so I was recruited.

We had a good weekend with a lot of laughter and fun activities.  I had just had my cataract surgery a week before and couldn’t see well enough to drive yet.  And so my seventeen year old grandson chauffeured us wherever we wanted to go.

On Sunday morning, I climb into the back seat (my idea) and my two firstborn grandchildren sit in the front seat on our way to church.  Just then, I have a flashback:  it is January, 17 years earlier.  I’m in Indiana and it is snowing like crazy.  My daughter is in labor two hours away.  Nothing could have stopped her dad and me from making that journey of course – certainly not a snowstorm or icy, treacherous roads.  Twenty-four hours of labor later on my precious daughter’s part and they are first-time parents.  And I am, at last, a grandmother.

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From the back seat, I observe my seventeen-year-old grandson driving safely.  He and his sister are laughing, chatting about something.  I pick up my cell phone and call my daughter at the swim meet.  I want to check on my granddaughter’s progress in the meet and share the following amazing thought.  When she answers, I say, “you know, I remember the day he was born and here he is seventeen years later driving his grandmother to church!  What happened to all that time?!”

Tomorrow night is Junior-Senior Prom night.  My grandson and his date and another young couple are having dinner at my daughter’s house.  My daughter volunteered to prepare one of her delicious pasta dishes (with homemade pasta) and homemade rosemary bread.  I’ve had them both and they’re delicious!  I volunteered to make a large tossed green salad and a chocolate éclair cake for dessert.  We’ll get dinner all ready with tablecloth and cloth napkins…and then disappear upstairs…after we take a few pictures of course.

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Another milestone…another track in time. 

If you’re curious about the number of times I’ve written about the idea of  TIME, go to my earlier blog My Southern Heart and type the word TIME in the blog search bar!

A post from my daughter’s heart…

A post from my daughter’s heart…

Each of my children has the gift of writing.   Sometimes with a bit of humor mixed in with the serious.  I wanted to share my daughter’s wonderful post about turning 45 on the 4th of December.  Although it just seems like yesterday to me…

 

Turning 45 today….here’s what I’ve learned so far

For what it’s worth.

–  Move.  Move. Move.  The older you get the easier it is to begin to live a sedentary life.  Don’t.  Move.  Walk, run, do something.  Because the older you get, the harder it is to shed those pounds.  Tis’ true….unfortunately.

–  It’s never to late to start something new.  Take up a hobby – like farming.  So what, if people think you’re crazy and are doomed to fail.  What do they know?  They are young and naive. You’re old and wise.  Like Yoda.  Except without the wrinkles.  Okay, maybe some wrinkles.  Well, lots of wrinkles…ugh, now I’m depressed.  Next one….

–  Skinny jeans.  Don’t go there.  Ever.  Just leave those bad boys on the shelves.  Trust me.  Weren’t made for a 45 year old.  If you do, you’ll look like your going through a mid-life crisis, all squished into those things.  Just back away.

–  It is completely normal and quite expected for you, the parent, to freak out regarding your teenager.  Totally normal.  It means that you are a loving and caring parent.  You are not the only one whose raised teenagers.

–  Pray.  Spend a lot of time on your knees.  This goes with the previous one.  Because you are going to need all the help you can get.

–  Embarrass your children.  Sing Christmas carols LOUD while you shop with them.  Do a mo-town dance while waiting to check out.  It’s a perk, really.  Count it as paybacks for all those late night feedings and changing of diapers.

–  Never wear hoodies into a bathroom stall.  (see yesterday’s post).  I don’t want to talk about it.

–  In the eyes of your teenager, you know nothing.  They think you’re more like spongebob than like Yoda.  I hear that turns around sometime later, but I’m still waiting for that one.

–  Start your marriage with someone you are crazy about and every so often, remember why you are crazy about him.  Laugh. A lot. And yes, sometimes relinquish control of the remote….I said sometimes. It makes for a great marriage.

–  Be happy.  With who you are, right now.  With your kids.  With life.  There are no do-overs.  You get only one shot at this.  Make the most of it.

–  Last one.  45 is not old.  Not even close.  I may be over half way done, but watch out….because I’m just getting started.

 

The featured image above is one of my favorites…here she is a freshman in college a few years ago!  

Although time seems to me more like ths pic below of her on her inchworm.  Where did the time go?!  

The bold link above will take you to her delightful blog.  I’m sure she would love to have you as a follower!

 

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On her beloved “inchworm”…

 

 

Birthdays…

Birthdays…

I was talking with my younger son and his family during their recent visit at Thanksgiving.  We were sitting in my living room watching television when he looked at me with a somewhat surprised look.  We had been talking about birthdays.  “Mom!” he said, “you’re going to be SEVENTY next year!”  ”

“Yessss?” I answered.

He agreed that I neither looked my age nor acted it thankfully.    I can also remember the exact time when I realized that my Mama was aging…that she wouldn’t be young forever.  That I would not have her forever.  I think it helps my kids that I think young and try my best to feel that way!  I’m thankful that on December 1, I entered my last year in my 60’s with joy and thankfulness…for I do have a lot to be thankful for!

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I’m thankful that 45 years today, my precious daughter was born!  What a joy and blessing she has always been.  I’m reposting this video about my amazing baby girl from my blog, “My Southern Heart…the Memories”.  Enjoy!

 

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My Amazing Baby Girl…

It was December 1969 and our special Christmas gift arrived two weeks early…a beautiful baby girl. She was born fifteen and one-half months after her big brother. We were blessed and so thankful to have two healthy babies. What a wonderful time this was in our life…Enjoy the pictorial video below of the first few years of my daughter’s life.

 

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