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.

sch_noitems_leaf

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.

sch_noitems_leaf

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.

clocksonbedsidetable

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.

sundial-200x300

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!

Thanksgiving…

Thanksgiving…

My younger son and his precious family arrived on Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving in the midst of falling snow and a cold, cold wind.  I had not seen them for six long months and I was literally “bananas” waiting to grab my beautiful little granddaughters in my arms.  I was afraid my 15 month old granddaughter would not remember me (though we’ve talked on FaceTime).  I held her in my arms and she sweetly studied my face.  I smiled at her and said “it’s Grandmommy!” and she gave me an enormous smile which reached those beautiful blue eyes!  Needless to say, my heart melted.  I knelt down to embrace three year old granddaughter and planted kisses on her cheeks and sweet little head.  I kept saying “I’ve missed you so, so much!” and she said “I missed you too, Grandmommy!”  Again, my heart melted!

 

Thanksgiving at my daughter’s home was a wonderful time with two of my children, two of my other children (my son-in-love and daughter-in-love), six out of nine of my grandchildren, Doug and his sweet 95-year-old Mom and two granddogs, Kiana & Bernie!  There was a lot of laughter and a lot of really good food!  My daughter had purchased a 26 pound fresh turkey from a local farmer.  She brined it overnight before cooking it and the result was a moist, delicious turkey.  She prepared all the wonderful side dishes and three different pies which were excellent.  My daughter-in-love put together the large vegetable tray and made one of my favorites – a spinach-artichoke-garlic dip served with pita chips.  Delicious!  With Doug’s help, I made a cheese ball and baked dozens of different cookies the day before Thanksgiving because I knew once my little granddaughters arrived, I would just be playing!  Which I did!

A happy, blessed grandmother…

 

My daughter falling in love with her baby brother’s baby…

 

Doug and Mary, his sweet 95-year-old Mom, enjoying Thanksgiving with my family…

 

No better place to be than in the floor playing with my grandchildren!

 

In the midst of all the excitement and joy of being together, I had to pause and reflect for just a moment.  

I have so much to be thankful for and I truly am…

Sunday morning reflections…

Sunday morning reflections…

It’s was 56 degrees in Iowa this morning with bright sunshine and clear blue skies…reminding me that my favorite season is quickly approaching.  I’m under the weather this morning after several nights of much less than adequate sleep, so I will put the praise music on and enjoy a time of worship here in my porch rocking chair.

Yesterday afternoon, my friend and downstairs neighbor Susan and I ventured out in the beautiful weather for a few hours.  The goal wasn’t necessarily to purchase anything – although I did find a tiered stacking rack for the spices in my pantry and a couple of Autumn dish towels.  The goal was just to enjoy the afternoon.  Apparently, everyone else in West Des Moines had the same idea!

We ended up eating a late mid-afternoon meal at one of my favorite places – Famous Dave’s.  Memphis Barbecue was featured on the menu as well as Georgia Pulled Pork (which I had).  Having grown up in Memphis, I wondered how Dave knew so much about Southern barbecue.  Click the link and read his story!  Believe me, if Famous Dave’s were in Memphis, they would give Corky’s and the Rendezvous a run for their money!  Everything I’ve eaten there is delicious.

To be honest though, barbecue always makes me homesick for the South, since it’s a Southern “comfort food”.  In the featured photo above, I am having Corky’s barbecue at Penny’s house the Friday night after Thanksgiving in Memphis in 2012 with my niece Sharon and her husband Tommy.  I miss them and can’t wait to see them on October 1st when I fly into Memphis!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
%d bloggers like this: