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Friday, January 27, 2012

A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck!

A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck!
.....That was my dad's way of telling us girls he loved us.  "Honey, your ol' dad loves ya a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck!"  I don't know why I was thinking of that today.  Probably because it's that time of year again.  I always find myself thinking of my dad at this time of the year.

It was 10 years ago on Tuesday (January 31, 2002) that Janie and I sat by his bedside waiting and dreading that last breath.  What a horrible day that still crops up in my nightmares.  Having been broadsided by a semi truck, on his way to his bowling league the day before, dad had succumbed to his injuries.

I'm so thankful for my dad and I love days like this when he crops up in my thoughts and I think about some of the things he taught me or the way he made me laugh. I think about him when I see a Jefferson's rerun - I can still hear him laughing at George and Weezy!  For a long time my ring tone on my phone was the Pink Panther theme - because it reminded me of those Saturday mornings curled up with him on the couch watching Pink sleuth his way out of  trouble. 

A Korean War veteran my dad was intensely patriotic.  The most beautiful picture in the world to him was the grand ol' flag blowig in the breeze - "Isn't she a thing of beauty babe?", he'd say when we'd see one.

There are many things I miss about my dad.  There are many ways I am like him, and many ways I am not.  Dad and I didn't always see eye to eye on many things and I was enough like him to argue the fact!  And boy, did we argue! We differed in politics, religious views and many other things!  But, we had great respect for each other and still came out with the "hug around the neck" when the arguing was done. 

He loved nature and was eager to teach us all about.  A farm boy raising his kids in the city he made sure to teach us about country life and farm values every chance he could.  I've tasted sassafras plucked straight up from the dirt on a nature walk, marveled at baby 'possums who had lost their mother, taught how to feed apples to a horse out of the palm of my hand, buried family pets, and nurtured several litters of puppies and kitties in our garage!

He was an incredible creature of habit - I think he learned this in the military.  He used selsun blue shampoo, ivory soap (bar form), stick butter and took the old fashioned big gaggy non coated tylenol, drank out of the same coffee cup that he found in the attic of a house he lived in when Janie was little and kept a tupperware glass of water in the fridge all the times!  Always.....he never swayed from these things - they were constants...Oh yes, and of course, he ate chicken noodle soup everyday for lunch (on the days he was home) with a good dusting of black pepper on top out of the same gosh darn bowl for the last 10 years of his life!! And, I might add made disgusting slurping noises while eating it!! 

He didn't buy anything that wasn't american made and cursed those that did (glad he doesn't know about our Toyota :)). He wore blue jeans (that he called overall pants) and button down shirts everyday.  He loved to laugh and was a great story teller!  He was equally as bad a driver. 

Dad's bad driving + winding mountainous Eastern KY roads + reminiscing about "back in the day" = Near death, be near me Lord Jesus moments! 

 I can't tell you how many close calls we had on those curves when dad started to reminisce.  After hearing the same stories over and over every time we went to visit Granny I finally let him know that we had heard these stories before. Because, after all, I'm a lot like him and he probably would have told me the same.  But not my tender hearted sister...she would let him reminisce and reminisce to our death down some rocky cliff. And of course, she always acted like it was the first time she had heard the story!  This is probably why he loved her more!! (ha ha, just kidding but then,every one knows I was the baby, therefore cute, cuddly and irresistably adorable - couldn't help it! - love ya sis!!)

He loved children.  I think if mom had been agreeable he would have had 12 kids - he often lamented that he didn't have more.  The problem with this is that he'd just about let a kid get by with anything.  I remember looking outside when Nic was just toddling and he was carrying a glass bottle on the pavement!  Yikes!  "Dad, why are you letting him carry that glass bottle on the driveway?" I shouted.  "Aww babe, let the kid have some fun - he won't get hurt...I'm watching him"!  Wow, that made me feel better!  NOT! I didn't like Kindergarten.  My mom taught school and it was dad's job to take me to the private Kindergarten at the Christian church everyday since he worked night shift.  Almost every day I cried and dad would just take me back home, and on the way home  he would say "Don't say anything to your mother about this".  (Hey, I didn't say he was a perfect dad or spouse, just a sucker, mostly) It wasn't until the teacher confronted my mom in the grocery store about my many absences that she knew about our little secret!  When she confronted my dad about this he simply said he couldn't stand to see me cry so he just took me back home and we played all day!!  Ha - what a guy, eh?  I turned out okay anyway (no comment on this one from anyone)!

Eventhough my dad was not to my knowledge a born again Christian he taught me so much about loving others, reaching out to those in need, unconditional love, taking care of the environment, loving much good stuff that I hope I am showing my kids as well (Fail, Fail, many times over, but a work in progress)!! 

I often wonder what he would think if he could just come back to us for one day.  What would he think about having a grand-daughter?.  How hard would he laugh at his great grandson and how much would he let him get by with???  What would he think of the price of gas?  The bad economy?  The war in Iraq? 

So much has changed since he left us on that awful day 10 years ago.  But his legacy of love has only grown stronger!  I love you dad - A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck!!

My sweet dad putting together a puzzle with Z when he was a little guy!! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

A soul generated by love!

Today is Martin Luther Kings birthday.  I saw this quote of his posted on someone's facebook wall...and it really struck a chord with me.... 

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wow...great words, eh?  I especially like the 'soul generated by love' part. 
Let's face it...service isn't always what it's cracked up to be. 
 Sometimes...'s hard work
 have to deal with people not like you
    takes up your time
        takes up your money
             makes you sad
                           .....makes you miss work
                                ......takes you away from family

The list could go on and on.  Only a soul generated by love would desire to put oneself in such conditions.  Why else would we commit to such heinous things???

Because we have a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love...that's why!  And when we experience this grace and this love it's just second nature to share it.  Then we find our selves
Desiring to... hard
      .....find beauty in the diversity of people around us
           .....find value in giving our time productively, wisely and for a good cause
                ....experience the joy of giving back monetarily some of what has been given  
                      to us
                    .....sharing someone's burden in hopes of lightening their load
                         .....taking time from the daily routine to be salt and light to someone
                              ....setting an example for our family of grace and love at work

Like Mr. King said - it doesn't take a college degree to serve.  Just a heart of grace and a soul generated by love.

Thanks Mr. King for this reminder that...
                                                     Greatness = Service!

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Celebrating Sanctity of Human life!

With January being Sanctity of Human Life Month it only seems fitting that I celebrate two of the most important women in my life.  

My mom?  - Nope

     My grandmother? - Nope

           My sister? - NOPE

All of these women are very important to me and I celebrate them as well....but the two women that I celebrate today gave our family two of the most unselfish, humble and loving gifts ever!

For their protection, I won't use their  names....

Of course, I would think of this sister reminded me of this in an email this morning.  She reminded me of that day 31 years ago (January 9, 1981) that I went with her to the hospital to pick up one of these wonderful treasures.  A bouncing baby boy delivered to my sister's heart and arms straight from the glorious woman who gave birth to him.  I'll never forget that day.  I was 15 and my eyes were wide opened.  I got the priviledge of going with her since my brother-in-law was out of town with work.  I had already decided I would be this little guys A #1 babysitter!  And I was.  This was in the days before mandatory car seats and I held this little bundle all the way home from the hospital! He has held my heart ever since.   He was precious.  I was amazed that his birth mother loved him so much that she could see beyond her circumstances, reach way down into her soul and conjure up the courage to make the most loving and unselfish decision for her son!  She could've chosen the easy way out and just aborted him and not had to deal with pregnancy, birth, handing him over...none of the hard stuff!  She didn't take the easy way out...

          SHE CHOSE LIFE!!!! 

On that day, I was sure I had met the most courageous, unselfish woman on all the earth!  That was until 91/2 years ago when a woman of equal character handed my husband and I a precious little (pink) bundle as well!  Was it easy?  Absolutely not!  I'm guessing, probably the hardest thing either of these women ever did!  But, on the other hand, also, one of the best....

choosing life....
     loving a child enough to provide the best you can for him/her
          making the unselfish decision to do what's best for their child

  For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. ... For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. ..... Psalm 119:73

Today I am thankful for these two children who were created by the father and who were granted life by the mothers who carried them in their wombs. 

Celebrate Life!

Had to include this pic sent to me today.  This is my nephew's son with his recent catch.  He is the spittin' image of his dad...the circle of life continues!!!  Good Job Dylly!


Friday, January 6, 2012

From Grateful to Grumpy

I woke up this morning feeling really grateful
                                                                             for the fact that my back is healing and I'm feeling so much better.  I went on to be so thankful for the sunshine and the 53 degree temp on a January day in Indiana!  This is actually a miracle....this never happens!!!  I should be elated really!

Then I remembered that my sister in law begins chemo today...and then I remembered my good friend has an MRI today to see if her cancer has spread to other areas of her body...and then I remembered some friends who are suffering broken marriages...and then I remembered a family member who is struggling with reality of life after rehabbing for drug addiction.  And...then...well...I guess I just got ......

At first it was kind of a humbling feeling and then I just got down right grumpy that all these people that I love are struggling in so many ways.

My good friend who just received healing after a 8 month long illness recently reminded me of this verse:

Psalm 103

Of David.
 1 Praise the LORD, my soul;
   all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, my soul,
   and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
   and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
   and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
   so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Wow, and I thought Joel's job had some good benefits!  Check out these "God Benefits"

Forgives our sins...
     heals our diseases...
          redeems us from the pit...
               crowns us with love and compassion    
                    satisfies our desires with good things! 
 Wow, how can one be grumpy with such amazing promises from a true Promise Keeper?

I claim this verse for all of my friends who are suffering right now.  My suffering is soooo minor compared to the big things many others are going through.  This has been a real downer of a week for me in many ways.  I've experienced a wide range of emotions (or should I call them character flaws), jealousy, rage, sadness, injustice, humility, happiness (and most of these were just one day...see I told you "I'm approaching my vintage years!!!! This is real proof).  But all of these emotions/feelings/hormonely inspired moments of temporary insanity, pale in comparison to what my friends with "big stuff" must be feeling.  I pray that they all (and me also) can remember...
                                                     .... His Benefits!

Before I get my grumpy on again ...I'm going to try to remember Psalm 103 and hope to remain in the grateful from the true Promise Keeper!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Out of the mouth of babes

Everyone should have a nine year old around - to keep things light.

Here's a short collection of some of the funny things Hannah has said this week.

"Do you think if I eat a PBJ every night I will gain the 5 lbs. I'm trying to gain?"  (Wow, really?  I'm pretty sure it's gestures like this that makes mothers in the animal kingdom devour their young!)

"I mean, seriously Mom, if they had a Funny mom contest, you could enter and Win!"  (I'm pretty sure it's gestures like this that saves the young in the animal kingdom from being devoured by their mother!)

"Wow, school was really fun today, I'm sure this means that tomorrow is going to be dumb!"  (Yep, pretty sure that's how it works)

"Did you hear the news mom?  I found out in school today that Matt Newt is going to run for president and beat Barack Obama."  (this is proof that school was too much fun today)

And my favorite!!!
"A lot of my friends from school went to Florida over break.  And you should see Maria...she came home with a new face!!"  (Wondering whether Maria's parents may have treated her to the extravagant gift of plastic surgery at an exclusive Florida plastic surgery day spa or something..I decided to inquire further.  Turns out...Maria just got a tan :) 

Thanks for all the smiles Sis! 

BTW - thanks to my awesome neice Andrea from who redesigned my page for me.  Check out her blog - she inspires me!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Did you ever play that word game?  You know the one where you change a letter of a word to make a new word and then the next person changes it again and so on and so on.  I.e.  snowing (change the "w" to "r") and you have snoring (change the "sn" to "b") and you have boring.  Okay, I improvised a little, but as I was sitting with an ice pack on my back watching the snow fly and listening to Hannah snore on the couch it just seemed fitting that "boring" would be the next word in my little game! 

I've been looking forward to this week for a while.  They guys are all gone and I was thinking this would be "ME" week.  I mean afterall, I've pretty much waited on everyone hand and foot for about 3 weeks now...I deserve a "ME" week right?  I had big plans to take Hannah to the mall, go to the movies, go out to dinner!  Ahhh  - it was gonna be great!  My back and the weather had other plans!  I had a momentary pity party and was about to drown my sorrow in a big ol' bowl of Moose Tracks and then I remembered that darn New Year's resolution to lose weight!  Geez, how much disappointment can a gal take in one week???

That was yesterday...the day I was feeling sorry for me!  Today I visited that again for a little bit as well, but God always has a way of pointing me back to Him.  I got 4 phone calls, or texts from friends who took the time out to check up on me.  Wow - humbling! 

Having a bad case of cabin fever Hannah and I decided to venture out.  I drove slowly and walked carefully on our venture.  After our trip to the Library I treated Hannah and "ME" (of course, cause it's all about me right?) to a fountain drink at the gas station. We were really living large at this point. I told the cashier to just add the drink of the UPS man behind me in line to my bill.   When we got in the car Hannah said, "Wow, mom that was really nice of you"!  Turns out my daughter saw a Random Act of Kindness and eventhough it was a .97 cent one it spoke loudly to her.  i didn't think much of it because after all I was feeling sorry for myself and about to drown my sorrows in a diet pepsi!

We had been home about an hour and the Pastor called and asked if I could come in to the office and write a check out of the Area Ministerial checkbook to help someone whose electricity had been cut off.  Hannah didn't want to go to the office but I made her.  As I was writing out the check for this man's electricity I got two more phone calls from people needing help.  One needed a prescription filled and another needed her electricity paid as well to avoid a shut off. This lady was particularly upset and crying and experiencing loneliness and in need of pastoral counseling as well.   I took care of their financial needs and referred the one lady to the pastor.  Hannah sat quietly taking all this in, feeling a little bewildered by it all. I, on the other hand, felt humbled, ashamed, guilty....the list goes on and on.

Yes, Hannah learned a lot today about the importance of giving.  The value in kindness.  But, I learned so much more.  My hopes of a fun filled week were dashed by a bad back and a snow storm.  But while I heal I have a warm house, ample food (albeit diet food), offers from friends and family wanting to help me, a hard working husband whose job provides insurance for our meds, a family who I am blessed to serve and care for, and well, this list goes on and on too.

I guess you could say that my word game took some twists and turns today and looks more like this now....shamed, shared, cared (for)!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

20(12) things to do while healing your back

My back pain isn't quite as bad as yesterday...I think I'm finally on the mend.  While being still I've compiled a list of 12 things to do while resting your back (in honor of 2012..GET IT?) Warning...these are not made up...they have actually taken place in the last 24 hours.
So here it goes...
  1.   watch shows like River Monsters with my son...liking the "with son" part only :)
  2.   pet the dog on my lap
  3.   count fly specks on the ceiling
  4.   look at the dust gathered in the corners and think of ways that I could vacuum that from my back.
  5.  check facebook 5,000 times...come on people need more satuses!
  6.  Think up and put into play things kids can do when they get home, (this should be number 1!)
  7. Sign up for an invitation to pinterest...seriously, is it really that elite that you have to be invited to it?
  8. Watch Extreme Makeover home edition and cry alot!
  9. Boss people around (no wait, this one should be number 1!)
  10. Talk to the dog on my lap like he's a person and do so with a high squeaky voice and throw in a  few baby phrases like "mommy wuvs her yittle punkin butta so much"!  (He likes it when I talk to him like this...builds good doggie esteem).
  11. Text everyone I know and anxiously look at the phone until they text back!.
  12. Check my email and see if my inviation to pinterest came in so that I can finally feel like a somebody!
Obvioulsy my New year's resolution for 2012 should be to "GET A LIFE"! 
Happy New Year!