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.

 

 

At long last…

At long last…

When you haven’t posted on the blog you love for over a year, you have to think you are the only one in cyberspace who will be reading it ever again.  Maybe I will just be talking to myself.  Nevertheless, it is time to share my sweet journey home again…

This past year has been wonderful.  And extremely busy!  I married the love of the last years of my life on May 24, 2015.  For the sweet ceremony held at our home, we were surrounded by children and grandchildren and Doug’s mom.  Afterwards, we had the reception, buffet dinner and dancing at the clubhouse at his mom’s condo celebrating with more family and friends.  For the most part, it was the grandchildren and us dancing – but it was fun.  It was a blessed time and one we will remember for the rest of our lives.

We have spent a lot of time this past year decorating the townhouse.  Doug finished the downstairs with a family room/office, guest bedroom and guest bath.  It added another 850 square feet.  In the future, I will post photographs of what we have done with the townhouse.

This past year has also involved a lot of traveling!  We have been to the Caribbean, Mexico, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, Montana, Holland, Belgium, England, Ireland and Scotland!  The month-long-trip to the United Kingdom, Belgium and Holland was a dream come true.  I knew I would love Scotland and Ireland…and I did.  It felt like home!  I have spent so much time this past year working on family history – mine and Doug’s!  The future holds a trip to Germany where Doug’s ancestors originated.  We look forward to that as well as returning to Scotland and Ireland.  I am getting close to finding Rev. William McGregor’s birthplace and I’d like to see it in person next time!

Below are a few scenes from our month long adventure….the first installment of a few more to come.

Sitting on the top deck of a double decker bus in London.

 

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Doug got up at 6:30 a.m. to capture the stillness of the water in the canals.  By 8:00 a.m. it is crowded!  Brugge, Belgium.

 

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The canals of Brugge, Belgium at 6:30 a.m.!

 

On top of the world of London, England, aboard The London Eye!

 

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DOUG climbed all the way to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London!!!

 

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The semi-circular gray/white building was our hotel in Ghent, Belgium. We asked for a room in the “attic” so that we would have an amazing view of the castle just across the street (out of the pic at right). It was wonderful!

 

Dianne and Doug enjoying the tulips in Holland.

Doug’s grower/exporter friend Piet in Holland entertained us for the day and took us on an up close and personal tour of his part of Holland. The tulips were breathtaking! Thanks, Piet!

 

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Angels…

Angels…

I’ve often wondered what my guardian angel looks like.  Maybe a little like Clarence in the movie It’s A Wonderful Life?  Or is he more like what I think Gabriel must look like…with the strength of a warrior?  We can’t see them of course – angels – but they’re there.  The Bible tells us they are.

When I was growing up, there was a picture, a simple unframed print, tacked up on the wall of the hallway in the little house on Victor Drive.  Years later, that simple print became mine.  It was, and is, one of my treasures.  There is a tiny hole near the top of the print where it had been tacked to the wall for years.  I treasure that tiny hole as well…for it brings back memories of that little house on Victor Drive.

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I’ve since had the print – tiny hole and all – professionally matted and framed.  It now hangs in my guest room and will always be in whatever home I’m in.  The angel watching over the small children reminds me that I’ve been protected on more than one occasion – no doubt you have as well – and could tell stories to my grandchildren about those times.

Maybe my angels would remind me of some of those stories – if they could. 

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.  Psalms 91:11

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!

April rain and catching up…

April rain and catching up…

I awoke to the sound of pouring rain this morning, accompanied by distant peals of thunder.  It reminded me of just how much I love rainy days.  I’ve often thought that I would like to be living and sleeping in a farmhouse with a tin roof…although that symphony might actually be a little too loud.  Tempted though I was to roll over and go back to sleep to the tune of the raindrops, I didn’t.  There’s too much to do and, at the moment, too much to tell…catching up on life these past few months.

When I made the journey back to the Midwest two and a half years ago, I wasn’t sure what the future would hold.  Again, I clung to the promise in Jeremiah 29:11…that my Heavenly Father had a future and a hope for me.  Almost two and a half years later, my life is new all over again.  I’m busy building a life, watching grandchildren grow up, traveling, writing and I’m engaged to be married to a wonderful man late May.  I’m happy and God is good.  The “selfie” below was taken early last Fall on my first trip ever through an Iowa corn maze!

 

So much has happened over the last few months…

Doug returned late January from a once-in-a-lifetime expedition trip to Antarctica with amazing photographs.  We’re in the process of completing a book about his journey with those incredible photos and I will post a link on Amazon when it is finished.  It will be a wonderful addition to your coffee table!  Sharing just a few pics below…

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My daughter and her husband sold their home and moved into a rental which is less than half the size of their house…all for the sake of building their dream farmhouse on six acres in the country.  Their new home will sit on a hill overlooking sixty-two apple trees and a beautiful view of the Iowa countryside.  There is also a big red vintage barn, a stand of black walnut trees, many other trees and a large garden site – which has been tilled and is ready to plant!  Doug helped my daughter and son-in-love this past weekend to put in the posts for a tall “deer fence” around the garden for the wildlife who would insist on their share of the produce!

I have now completed cataract surgery on both eyes and can alleviate any fears those of you who are anticipating this procedure might have.  Surgery lasts all of about 20 – 30 minutes and there is no pain involved.  There are eye drops to put in your eyes on schedule and the difference in your eyesight is almost immediately recognized.  I will, most likely, still need glasses to read and fine distance focus but that’s all good.  The worst part is not being able to wear eye makeup for three weeks – or six weeks if you’re having both eyes done…but that’s okay too!

Wishing each of you a blessed and happy day!  Thanks for reading and “catching up” with me…

 

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