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

Promises…

Promises…

This morning began with a chilly three degrees outside.  Snow and patches of ice still cover the ground and tarmac outside.  Thankfully, the thermometer slowly rose to the day’s high of nineteen…but the wind chill made it feel so much colder.  As much as I enjoy opening all the drapes first thing in the morning, today they remained closed.  The goal today was staying warm.  Later this week a heat wave of 45 is predicted!  I look forward to that and will enjoy letting the sunshine in the windows then.

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I’ve been thinking about promises today.  If you’re at all like I am, then you don’t make promises lightly.  Neither does God.  There are amazing promises in the Bible.  One of my favorite promises is found in Jeremiah 29:11.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.  The past two years of my life have held some sadness and a few challenges.  At times,  I confess to wondering what God had in store for me.  Still, I clung to the promise He made in Jeremiah 29:11.  He is faithful and I am thankful!

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Doug left on Sunday for a much anticipated trip to Antarctica!  He made the plans for this once-in-a-lifetime trip to see a part of this world that most of us will never see before the two of us met.  Before he left, he planted the Paperwhite bulbs below for me and placed them on a small table facing the glass door in my kitchen.  As a Master Gardener, he knows far more than I do about plantings, but I could not believe they are “planted” in clean smooth pebbles with barely enough water to cover the pebbles!  Each of the bulbs holds the energy and everything it needs to grow within itself.  Amazing, isn’t it?  There’s a promise within each bulb of the beautiful Paperwhite blossoms they are to become.  Much like the promise you and I hold within each of us!

So, in the meantime, I will take care of these little bulbs and watch them grow.  I will look forward to stories about Penguins, the amazing beauty of Antarctica and camping on the ice when Doug returns! 

 

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Note:  The photo of the Paperwhite blooms above is from Wikipedia.  I will post pics of these bulbs when they bloom!

The last few days…

The last few days…

The past few days have been eventful ones.  Doug and I spent a cold, windy, Midwest Friday afternoon traipsing through his family cemetery and checking on names, birth dates and death dates from the tombstones for his “family tree”.  I confess to enjoying the family history clue chase…even if they aren’t my personal ancestors!  We also copied photos of his family’s ancestors to create a book for his 95 year old mother.  We did find one photo on Ancestry.com of his grandmother when she was young and his great-grandmother.  It was actually a photo his mother had never seen!  She loved it and, of course, recognized her mother and grandmother immediately.  I’m glad I was there to see her happy reaction…much like mine would be if I could find photos of my ancestors online that I had never seen!

 

 

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We spent Saturday helping my daughter and her family out at their new six-acre farm site complete with big red barn dating back to the late 1800’s, 62 apple trees, large garden site and a long stand of black walnut trees.  Doug and my son-in-love worked hard taking a large portion of an old tree down…a tree that was growing around a pup tent that had been in it for years!  My oldest grandson worked hard hauling limbs and brush back to the burn pile.  My daughter had prepared homemade chicken noodle soup the evening before.  I stayed with the three youngest grandchildren and got the cornbread ready for our lunch.  After lunch, we headed back out to the farm.  My two youngest grandchildren and I helped haul branches.  It’s going to be a beautiful place for their new farm house!

 

Doug sawing on a large fallen branch.

My oldest grandchild hauling one of many fallen tree limbs to the burn pile.

 

Huge conifer by the driveway.

 

My daughter with her new toy on the apple orchard farm.

 

A view of the apple orchard…

 

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Sunday morning began with a lovely church service and then to Walmart to buy items to fill two Operation Christmas Child boxes…one for each of us.  I think we’ll specify two girls – one in Brazil (he supports a young girl in Brazil named Eduardo) and one in Peru.  If we pay the $7.50 shipping fee online through Operation Christmas Child, we will be able to see where the boxes are delivered.  I think that would be neat!

Afterwards, we headed out to his house where we began preparations for a dinner party on Sunday evening – for his 95 year old Mom and her primary caregiver, Joan.  We were very much looking forward to it!  I had put the roast in about thirty minutes earlier and was getting ready to prepare the winter roasted vegetables.  I had unloaded the dishwasher then did something that changed the course of events…and I knew better!  Years before, my mother had fallen over an opened dishwasher door and broken her hip, so I knew better.  But I left the dishwasher door down and left the kitchen to ask Doug if he had a pan for the vegetables.  He followed me back inside to look for a pan – about ten feet behind me.  I had forgotten the dishwasher door was down and my eyes were not adjusted coming back indoors from outside.  In less than a split second, I tripped over the dishwasher door and went flying across the kitchen…landing with the right side of my face and head – not to mention my right knee and the right side of my body – hitting the closed oven door with full impact!  My glasses slammed into my nose and broke.

Needless to say, Doug flew to my side, scared to death of what he would find.  After determining I could move and eventually stand up, we headed to the Methodist Hospital Emergency Room – a level I trauma center!  Although they did not have a room at the moment and there were five people in front of us, they managed to get me in rather quickly.  They put me through Cat Scans of my head, neck, chest and back…and x-rayed my painful right knee.  With a history of neck and back surgery in the past, they were not taking any chances.  THANKFULLY, nothing was broken!   Guess I’m a pretty tough cookie after all.

So a word to the wise:  never, ever leave the dishwasher door open!

 

Feeling the effects of pretending to be Wonder Woman and flying through the air!   Not planning on doing this again anytime soon!    Can’t believe he took a pic of me in a cervical collar!  😉

 

Beggars’ Night 2014…

Beggars’ Night 2014…

Here in the Des Moines area, Halloween is called “Beggar’s Night”.  It is celebrated with everyone decorating their homes and yards…and handing out lots of good candy.  This year my good friend Doug and I accompanied my two youngest Iowa grandchildren, who were splendidly dressed as Elsa from Frozen and Wolverine!  Doug and I were dressed as Winnie-the-Pooh and Grumpy the padded dwarf!  My daughter made the wonderful Elsa costume and the train flowed behind my granddaughter in the Autumn breeze.  Of course, my five year old grandson had a bit of difficulty grasping candy from the different bowls with Wolverine’s claws but he managed!  To receive candy, each little fun-dressed beggar has to tell a joke!

Afterwards, we returned to my daughter’s home and had bowls of delicious broccoli cheese soup made from the Pioneer Woman’s recipe!  Alll in all, a fun night in October…

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