Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009

When children grow up, change is inevitable. I have a son in Florida, a daughter fifteen miles away from home, a grandson in Atlanta, and a granddaughter in Arkansas. Some day I will have four more grandchildren who no longer live with their parents. This year we spent Christmas in Florida, which worked out okay since our daughter, who only lives a few miles away, could not have made it to our house due to a record snowstorm.

For years, we were unable to celebrate Christmas with our own parents because we lived west of or in the Great Plains, notorious for blizzards and closed roads. On one occasion, my husband's boss was returning on the train to Glasgow, Montana in the winter. All the able-bodied men had to help dig out ice and snow from the train wheels so the train could travel a few more miles. Another time, a state trooper drove my husband to the local airport from the airport a hundred miles away because ours was closed due to ice and snow. There was no way we dared risk our lives to go home for Christmas. So our Christmas was our little family until we were stationed closer to home.

Now we alternate between our spending Christmas with our daughter and son. The day is quickly approaching when grandchildren will figure into the equation.

This year we shared Christmas with our son's friends and neighbors. We shared holiday foods and music with Jewish friends, Italian traditions, Cuban music, and people from several regions of the company. It was a fun and new way to celebrate.

I'm looking forward to many more Christmases celebrated in different ways with our ever growing family.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Being Thankful in Troubled Times

I post on Books To Write blog once a month. Another writer who posts said she posts to her own blog when it is her turn. I decided to follow her lead.

We had a community Thanksgiving service tonight. Several ministers took part in the service as well as a choir made up of singers from several congregations.

The church had been remodeling their sanctuary and celebrated their first service today in the new facility. We were able to rejoice with them as they gave thanks for the completion of their project.

This morning our preacher spoke about how hard it is to be thankful in these troubled times. Many of our members have had recent deaths of loved ones, critical illnesses of themselves or other family members, job losses, and financial hardships. Yet we are told to give thanks in all things. I appreciated that he admitted it is difficult in trying times to be thankful. It was refreshing to hear his honesty. It helped me to hear that others struggle to be thankful.

Having heard that sermon, I was able to participate in the evening Thanksgiving service because I realized it was okay to acknowledge it is hard and that's okay. I could lift my voice in song to the old familiar hymns as I shared songs of thanks and gratitude with others in the community who were experiencing pain and suffering of their own or that of others.

Today was a good day to "Praise God from whom all blessings flow." Thanks be to God.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I recently joined Facebook. It has been fun keeping up with my grandchildren's activities. Three of my former students are now grown with jobs and families. It is so good to read about their successes. One of my nieces is my friend. Several people from groups I belong to are also now my friends. A few of my favorite authors are on my Facebook, or maybe I should say I am on theirs. It's interesting to read about their writing journey and new releases.

I also bought a blackberry cell phone. I am so happy I won't have to lug my laptop with me when we go on trips, or inconvenience my son's family by asking to use their internet. It looks pretty cool, too.

Then there is my I Pod for my music. We can plug it in to listen to music while traveling. I'm not sure Roger will be too crazy about Enya and Yanni, but I have Alan Jackson, George Strait, and Brad Paisley on there also. Shuffle will help us both. Although I like Country Music better than he likes New Age. We both like Kenny G, Chris Botti, and Christian music.

Then there is Classmates. I've connected with one of my neighbors from Junior High. It has been fun thinking about those fun years. I loved Washington Junior High School. We were one big happy group that went to games, walked to lunch every day, iced skated in the winter, and swam at the city pool in the summer. Our large high school broke up the group as we had different lunch hours and classes. The city bus system closed down, and we all broke up into different car pools. Looking back, Junior High was my best time.

The internet has been an issue for a long time. I used to be on dial up, which slowed me down. Now high speed allows me to be on for longer periods of time. I also do a lot of work for various groups I'm a member of, as well as belonging to several digests and receiving several newsletters. Blogs, I have to read several of those.

Life was simpler when there wasn't so much technology available. One advantage is I don't have to worry about my brain not being stimulated.

I'm a techno-grandma for sure.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shopping for School Supplies

My grandson and I bought supplies when Walmart was having their wonderful sale. We didn't have a school supply list since, for some strange reason, the middle school and high school do not put one out. So we tried to guess at what would be needed when we could get things at a good price.

Monday was the first day of school. Both my grandson and granddaughter came home with the list of things they needed. My husband and I trekked from Walmart to Dollar General to United Grocery store in a futile search for dividers for three ring binders. He needed three sets. We met other parents with lists in hand, who were searching for other items missing from store shelves. I did find some fancy dividers for $4.00 a set. Neither my husband nor I felt inclined to spend $12.00 for dividers.

Did I mention that it was 106 degrees? Car air conditioning doesn't function well in that type of heat.

Did I mention that the school district announced to the news media that they would require fewer supplies this year because of the economy?

Did I mention that I am a retired teacher? Granted, I taught in elementary school where the supplies are more uniform.

Did I mention that I volunteer at the local food pantry? I couldn't help but wonder how our patrons are managing to obtain school supplies when they can't afford to buy food to feed their families?

I hope I can find some dividers tomorrow. I may have to give up and buy the expensive ones. Next year I'll buy dividers when they are on sale for 25 cents a packet.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

This past weekend was our local Relay for Life. As part of the opening ceremonies, the survivors were asked to sit on the stage in our special purple t-shirts. We were asked to speak into a microphone and give our name and how many years we've survived cancer.

As the microphone passed, the time periods varied from thirty-two years to two weeks. I'm somewhere in the middle at thirteen years. The non-cancer participants sat across from us in the amphitheater and joined us as we applauded each other for living another year or even another day. We're all there for the same purpose: to raise money for a cure for cancer.

Today at church one of the young girls in my church came rushing up to me and hugged me. She said, "I didn't know you'd had cancer." What a sweet gift her words and hug were to me.

I shall treasure it always. "Thank you, Ashley."

Monday, May 4, 2009

Marriage Brings New Friends

One of the rewards of my marriage is the new friends that came into my life because of my husband. One of those was Horace Scruggs. The first time I met Horace was when my husband took me home to meet his family and friends after we married. A group of his friends met one evening at one of their houses. Horace was there. I laughed until I thought I'd get sick. Horace was a great story teller. I could listen to him for hours as he recounted school adventures, college stories, navy experiences.

Horace would have been a great college professor or a literary writer. I looked forward to my husband's high school reunions because I knew he'd be there with more stories.

Hurricane Katrina took his pictures, yearbooks, and favorite books, everything but his wife, his beloved Jack Russell Terrier, and the clothes on his back.

Last October, several classmates and spouses met in North Georgia for a get together held by several different classes. We laughed and listened to stories. None of us knew Horace would be missing from future gatherings.

Two weeks ago, Horace called my husband and they talked about the next meeting in the fall. They discussed when we could stop by for a visit. The tentative plans were for our return trip in June.

Then we received a phone call from one of the buddies that Horace had died from a sudden heart attack. There will be no more Horace stories to look forward to at the get togethers.

But, someday I'll hear that chuckle again when Horace again regales us with his tales as we all sit around in heaven enjoying each other's company.

Yes, it's interesting the people that come into your life as the result of marriage.
Horace was one of the best. He never thought of himself as a treasure, but to those who loved him, he was. I miss him.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Handwritten Letters: A Dying Communication Tool

I received an invitation to join Facebook a few days ago. I decided to take the plunge.

I was nervous about trying it, but it was easier than I thought. As you know I have already entered the world of blogging, having been pushed into it by my young writer friend. I don't have a website, nor my space, or twitter. Those may come along later. I also don't text yet. I guess I should because my grandchildren gave up email long ago. Email went the way of the telephone.

The good thing about all these new ways to communicate is you can do it anytime of day and not worry about bothering people. They'll get to it when they can.

The bad thing is you can't hear their voice or hold a written page to read over and over.

I have letters my mother and grandmother wrote to an aunt of mine many years ago. She sent them to me when she was clearing out things. She died shortly after.

I have my mother's and my aunt's diaries written in their own hand. I also have a notebook with family history my grandmother wrote for me. I even have a couple valentines my dad bought for my mother signed "Love, Eddie". It sounds abrupt, but she knew he meant it with all his heart.

I regret throwing away the letters my mother, grandmother, and two aunts wrote over the years. When I moved and was young, they didn't seem important. I threw my husband's and mine away after I figured out the kids were reading them.

I do save birthday cards and mother's day cards, and even some Christmas cards. I have a folder full of cards people sent me when I had cancer. Those were important to show me I mattered to others. I didn't know that, really.

As fun as modern technology is, I think it will be sad when, in later years, today's young people want to look back at their memories. Where will they be? Someone with more skill than I may know they are all saved somewhere in cyberspace to be retrieved and enjoyed once more. I don't know.

I miss a good old fashioned letter and hearing the voice of my loved ones, but an email, computer card, or facebook contact lets me know I'm not forgotten.

I may have to sign up for texting after all and learn lol, imo, etc to keep in touch with those I love. Love often forces us to learn new things.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ready-Made Family by Cheryl Wyatt

I subscribe to Love Inspired books from Steeple Hill, One of their April books is Ready-Made Family by Cheryl Wyatt. This is the third book in a series about Refuge, Illinois, a small community determined to live out God's command to help the helpless and needy. Ben Dillinger responds to a small child's request to help her mother. After discovering Amelia North unconscious in a wrecked car, Ben and the local community offer help and a sense of belonging to a young woman who believes no-one cares.

The town reminded me of the book In His Steps I read many years ago. In it a newspaper writer challenges a town to live out their faith.

I'm looking forward to reading the next books in this series. I'd suggest ordering the book online or look for it at your favorite bookstore. Besides being an entertaining read, I think it encourages me to remember to be on the lookout for opportunities to lend a helping hand.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Too Busy to Read

My favorite thing to do is read. I used to read a lot when I worked as a way to relax and wind down from a busy day.

Since I've retired, I've kept busy with several volunteer activities that I enjoy doing such as being a member of Friends of the Library to promote reading and supporting the local public library. I work with Adult Literacy as a tutor and am very active in various church programs. This past year I've enrolled in several online writing courses as well as a two year writing program with Christian Writers' Guild.

A few weeks ago, I realized I hadn't read a book for pleasure in a long time. So I've decided to read each night before I go to bed instead of watching the series of news programs I'd been watching.

I'm enjoying reading again and sleeping well at night. The Friends of the Library had a used book sale last week, which gave me an opportunity to stock up on my favorite authors as well as some new authors I'd heard about. One thing about book lovers, we were busy suggesting books we've read to each other.

Now I'm thinking maybe I should revisit a few other things I used to like to do before I let myself get so busy. I just may get out those oil paint brushes up on the closet shelf.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"Daisy Chain" by Mary DeMuth

Mary DeMuth,, recently announced that her latest book was now available. The title sounded interesting, the cover was beautiful, and I love to read. A few days again, I settled down in my reading spot to enjoy my favorite reward for finishing my to do list. Hours later, when I closed the book, I knew I'd be waiting with anticipation for book two.

Daisy Chain is the first book in her Defiance Texas Trilogy. Daisy Chance, the best friend of fourteen year old Jed Pepper, disappears from her small town. The rest of the book deals with Jed’s search for her because he believes he’s to blame.

Tortured family relationships and friendships with unusual towns people keep this book a page turner as Jed searches for Daisy. Treat yourself to a suspenseful read as Mary draws you into life in Defiance, Texas.

I've been studying the craft of writing in depth the past two years as I decided to get serious about writing. Mary's site is one I visit frequently after attending her workshop at the American Christian Fiction Writers' Conference. I've learned a lot about the craft of writing from her blogs.

I don't know how she finds the time to write such a wonderful book with keeping up her blog and raising a family. I am in awe of her writing ability.

Phone Call from the Past

I haven't written for a long time on this blog because I've been too busy I guess.

Today I received a phone call from an old friend from my childhood. We attended the same church since infancy. Our parents were best friends, but both had passed away several years ago. He'd moved around a lot and so had I.

It's been forty eight years since we graduated and saw each other. We caught up on our lives, children, grandchildren, and spouses. We shared our faith journey and how God has blessed us through the years.

What a treat it was to hear from a childhood friend.