Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Memories.

I know a few people who have their Thanksgiving tables set. (I began this post a few days ago.) Many are busy baking and cooking today in preparation. Some are crazy busy cleaning their homes as guests arrive later. Me? I'm just relaxing. We aren't having anyone over for Thanksgiving.

Earlier in the week, my sister-in-law made the suggestion that instead of having the kids juggle spending Thanksgiving with both sets of parents/family, why not have Thanksgiving on Saturday so there is less stress. Done.

For some reason, this seemed a little too familiar. Had we done this before? Why yes, yes we have. Last year, I cooked the turkey on the Sunday following Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving, I grilled salmon for Sarabeth, Travis, Michael, and I. On Friday, we went to the Springs to celebrate with Christina and family. Christopher and Lauren were in California. Hilary was in Chicago with her soon-to-be inlaws.

I switched up the day in order to save my children stress. But maybe it adds stress tacking on a second Thanksgiving Day?

I better get busy planning Christmas.

Since we are home alone, I am reflecting on past Thanksgivings and am so very thankful!
Thanksgiving 2011

This was the first Thanksgiving spent without my husband and girls. Thankfully, I spent it with the rest of my family: my parents, sisters, brother, their families, my son and his wife. I flew with my mother-in-law to Phoenix so she could spend it with her daughters. Since I took the photo, it seems like I wasn't actually there, but I was.

Two days later, the family joined me in Arizona for my nephews wedding. Happy Anniversary Nick and Laura.

Thanksgiving 2003

This was our first Thanksgiving we celebrated away from home, and our first without Christopher. Thankful to have cousins who live nearby and who are so much fun.

Thanksgiving 2004

The year grandson Ethan brought back memories of son Christopher eating the middle of my pumpkin pie.

Thanksgiving 2006

The year I set my table with name cards and everything...but didn't get a single photo of our family.
Thanksgiving 2008

The day with the cousins and inlaws, all 16 of us. (Trying to figure out what everyone is doing in these pics.) 

Thanksgiving 2009

Shortly after celebrating my inlaws 60th anniversary, we spent our last Thanksgiving with my father-in-law.

Thanksgiving 2010, somehow I don't make it into the picture yet again.

Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving 2015

Before spending it by ourselves, Michael and I went to a movie with Hilary, Ryan, Beckham, Elisabeth, and Brian.


"Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place."

Saturday, November 14, 2015

I Haven't Walked This Way Before

Twenty-three years ago, on October 31st, Michael and I moved into this house. We didn't celebrate Halloween that night. Our neighbors noticed. The doorbell rang. Expecting trick-or-treaters, I answered it. Instead of goblins greedy for candy, it was my nearest neighbor and her two children bringing us homemade treats. This was my first meeting with the neighbor who would later become the best neighbor ever.

Over the last 23 years, we've watched our children grow, her two and my five. We have had the freedom to call upon one another for just about anything.  In a rainstorm, she called in a panic, could I please go into her home and comfort her dog who was terrified of thunder. We have prayed for each other, and for our kids. I can't tell you how many times I've borrowed a cup of sugar,  a can of tomatoes, an egg, an onion, even a cup of coffee. I'm thankful that I've been able to  reciprocate.

When we hadn't seen each other for awhile, she would call me or I would call her. "I'm on my way to the grocery store, can I pick up a few things for you?" We usually knew when the other was under the weather or had a sick child.

Her son took my daughter and her friend to prom when none of them wanted to go with a date. My friend and neighbor rented a limousine for the occasion. We joked that neither of us had been out for a night on the town in a limousine and agreed to not wait for a funeral to ride in one.

Our kids are grown, and we remain neighbors. We catch up when we can, usually standing out in the front yard. My girlfriend was there for the weddings, showers, and births of grandchildren. (That's her with the umbrella.)

We send texts. Most mornings, my girlfriend shares scripture, or an encouraging word from her latest reading via text.

Sometimes, when life is hard, we sit in the dark, in the glow of the firepit. It's easier in the dark. The tears flow quietly, unnoticed. We don't feel the cold either.

I sent letters to her son, when he was in jail. She sent gifts to my new grandbabies.

On October 22nd, Debra sent me a text asking if she could borrow a couple of potatoes. I was at bible study and didn't see it right away. An hour later, I messaged her back. She never replied.

That night, Michael and I were quietly sitting when we heard a familiar truck sound.  I looked out the window to see the ambulance and firetruck.

Debra's son, her only son Neshan, passed away.

My heart shattered.

Where do we go from here?

I haven't walked this way before. I sobbed when 3 limousines pulled into the cul-de-sac to take my friend and her family to the funeral. It wasn't supposed to be this way.

I haven't walked this way before and didn't know what to say as we stood arm-in-arm before his open casket.

I haven't walked this way before, but I will be here my dear friend. I will be here when the cold, hard darkness keeps you awake in the middle of the night. I will be hear in the early mornings, when the warmth of the sun reminds you of your son. I will meet you out front, a shoulder for your tears and I will cry with you.

I'm so sorry. I believed in Neshan. I prayed for him. I always knew God had something better for him. I did not expect the better to be least not yet.


"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:1-3)

Friday, November 06, 2015

Such A Mystery

I was up late last night, no particular reason. It rained a lot. There was thunder and lightning. When it grew quiet, I peeked out the shutters to check if the rain had turned to snow. Rain and drizzle continued.

Just after midnight, I headed to bed. I opened the shutters one last time. Pressing my face against the glass, I searched for a hint of snow on the grass. I noticed a car driving very slowing through the cul-de-sac. I watched as it pulled in front of my neighbors driveway and stopped. Except for one 13 year old boy, there are no teens living on our block. I was quite certain the car didn't come for a visit. The car wasn't parked. It seemed perched just behind several trash cans, still running and with the lights on. Was this car about to smash into the cans?

I closed the shutters and stepped out on the front porch to further investigate. It was quite chilly outside with just a hint of snow, but I didn't care. I was determined to find out what was going on with this unfamiliar vehicle. The car began slowly moving. It drove past that house and around the corner. Shivering, I went back inside.

I was puzzled. Who would be driving through our neighborhood on a Wednesday night, after midnight? I caught a glimpse of light, so back to the window I went. There was the same car coming down the street again. I was certain the car could see me peering out, as I stood with the shutters open once again.  It was quite dark out and when the shutters are open, the light streams out into the darkness.

The car stopped directly in front of my house, with its headlights beaming in my direction. I thought maybe it was parking and waited for the headlamps to go out. They didn't. It felt as if we were having a stare down. For 20 seconds or more, I stared at the car. The car headlights stared back at me. Because of the way the lights were shining I could not quite make out the car and certainly not who was inside. Feeling like I might lose the staring contest, I backed down and shut the shutters.

Quickly, I went to a darker room where I could look out unnoticed. Once again, the car slowly began to drive around the cul-de-sac and up around the corner. I wasn't overly concerned or afraid, but the boldness of the car and the time of night did make me a little uneasy. I decided to stay up a little longer in case the car came back.

If it did, I missed it. I checked out the window several more times, but never saw it. Could I have angered them by staring them down? Had the car parked around the corner and someone came back on foot? I could not think of a logical reason why the car had eerily driven the way it did through our neighborhood nor its purpose in being there.

An unsolved mystery for now.


"For the mystery of lawlessness is already working. Only He who is now restraining him will do so until He is taken out of the way." (2 Thes. 2:7)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Baby To Love

A new grandbaby
I was so focused on this newborn babe, so fresh from God, as he was placed in his mama's arms I cropped my daughter's face. At least I caught her beautiful smile.

Watching the birth of my grandson, was nothing short of a miracle.

Welcome to the world, Elijah Kairos, 7 lbs 2 oz.

The love Ethan has for his new brother is precious.


A family of five


"A friend loves you all the time, and a brother helps in time of trouble." Proverbs 17:17

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Sacred Moments

Sacred: worthy of or regarded with reverence, awe, or respect.

A sacred moment is a most precious, intimate space and time that can't be shared with anyone else. I'm choosing to share them anyway. These are God moments when all I can do is silently praise Him, as no words will do justice.

Holding a newborn in your arms, knowing they are fresh from God.

Seeing my seventh grandchild, in the womb, healthy, it's a girl! (Even if it was an ultrasound photo on my phone. It was almost as if I was there.)


Alone in the dark of the night, watching the super blood moon eclipse, knowing God has numbered our days and our nights.

Sharing a memory with my dad that only he and I remember, via emails.

Sitting in church with my son, listening to a testimony of God's sustaining love in the darkest hours; tears streaming down our faces.

Arriving at Elisabeth's apartment; Beckham's squeals and smiles when he sees me.

Joy as the date is set for wedding dress shopping with Hilary. Sadness that Michael's mom will miss it.

Holding Michael's hand, while sitting in church, such love.


 "As he listens, his secret thoughts will be laid bare, and he will fall down on his knees and worship God, declaring that God is really there among you." (1 Cor. 14:25)

Monday, September 14, 2015

It's A Boy!

When I was expecting my third child, Michael and I picked out names. If the baby was a girl, her name would be Elisabeth, for a boy, Ryan. Elisabeth was born soon afterwards.

When I was expecting our forth child, we picked names again. Sarah for a girl, Ryan for a boy. Sarah was born soon afterwards. A few months later we changed her name to Sarabeth.

When I was expecting my fifth child, it was decided this would be our last baby. I figured this baby must be our Ryan. Hilary arrived soon afterwards. We were a little surprised. I supposed we were not meant to have a son named Ryan. I was wrong.

On Saturday, Ryan proposed to my youngest daughter Hilary. She said yes.

I love what he posted on Facebook:

We will finally have a son named Ryan!  Congratulations Hilary and Ryan.


 "Then make me truly happy by loving each other and agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, working together with one heart and mind and purpose." (Phil. 2:2)

Monday, September 07, 2015

It's A Girl!

A new little one to love.

Ivydee and the rest of us awaited her arrival with great anticipation. 

We didn't know if baby was a he or she.

Jolie Irene made her arrival on September 2, at 2:45 a.m., weighing 7 lbs. 7.5 oz.

A sister is a special kind of friend.
The bond of sisterhood is forever,

And so is the love a grandmother has for her grandchildren.

I can't wait to love on them very soon.


"May the Lord continually bless you with heaven’s blessings as well as with human joys. May you live to enjoy your grandchildren! And may God bless Israel!" (Ps. 128:5-6)