Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Remembrance

Tomorrow will be the 10th anniversary of my first husband, John, going home to be with his Lord. It was Memorial day 1999 and we actually celebrated the holiday on the 31st that year.

John was a loving, caring husband and father. We had been married 27 years. We had just had supper with John's mother at our home to celebrate the holiday. Both of my kids were out with friends. A few hours after his mother had gone home, John suffered a heart attack and was gone immediately.

John and his mother had been discussing at supper that several men in their family had died of heart attacks very young. His own father died at age 46; a few others died in early 50's. I remember John said, "Well I'm 55 so I guess I'm past the danger point. After he was gone I remembered this conversation.

John at his mother's home in OKC

In Mexico

John loved the Lord. He loved working with kids, and had a clown ministry. His clown name was Jolly Jelly Bean. We had friends that were missionaries in Mexico and John went on several mission trips to Mexico. On two occasions my daughter Sara went with him.

Many things have happened since John's death. His sister who was 10 years younger died 3 years after he did. (There were no other siblings). Our son, Tim, went through a very difficult time and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2002. Then in August 2006, our daughter Sara died of carbon monoxide poisoning. We never know why things happen as they do, and I have learned not to question, knowing that the Lord's timing is always perfect.

In November 2005 I married Lynn; this has been such a blessing in so many ways. He is a wonderful man, treats me like a queen, and we have a good life together. I was so thankful that he was at my side when my daughter passed away. I have been able to retire, and I'm enjoying that so much. That probably would not have been possible if I had not re-married.

God is so good, all of the time! In spite of some sorrows and heartaches along the way, I feel very blessed. It is my desire to be an encouragement to others and to serve the Lord faithfully. I know he uses our experiences to help others along the way. I recently helped with a funeral dinner for a 21 year old girl who died of a seizure. I was able to talk to her mother and felt it was an encouragement to her.

I know there has been a wonderful reunion in heaven--John, Sara, my mother and my dad, among others. I would imagine that John is keeping them entertained with his clowning.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Sweet Friendship

When I lived in Oklahoma City, I had the privilege of becoming friends with a lady who lived across the street from my mother-in-law. Her name is Naomi. She and my mother-in-law, Gloria, had become very good friends; whenever I went to visit mother, I also would visit with Naomi. I loved talking with her. She just always seems so positive and in love with life.

Last summer Naomi had to move to Terre Haute, Indiana to live with her daughter. She has an unstable hip bone, and they can't do surgery, but she has become basically wheel chair-bound. Last fall I went to visit Naomi, and took her to a park. We had such a great time.

This past week I went to visit her again. We had planned to take her on an outing, to get her out of her room, but she just really wasn't feeling up to it. But we had a great visit! I've learned a lot about Naomi, in my last 2 visits with her.

She has really had a difficult life. She had a very unhappy childhood. Then she got married to a man who abused her, and she finally divorced him. She had 4 small children, and worked several different jobs while trying to raise her kids. Most of that time she lived in a small flat. Fortunately, there was a neighbor who would watch her kids while Naomi worked.

Then finally in 1972, when she was 38, it worked out for her to go to Nursing school. That had actually been her dream since high school. She became a registered nurse and in 1979 moved to Oklahoma. However, she still had her 2 youngest children with her, and she felt they would be happier finishing school in Indiana, so she moved back until they had graduated and were on their own. Then she moved back to Oklahoma, got a nursing job there, and has been there ever since until this recent move back to her daughter's.

I wanted to post this nursing school graduation picture of Naomi. I just think she was such a beautiful woman. She gave me this picture when she moved back to Indiana last year.

I asked Naomi how she could be so positive and full of life in Oklahoma. She said that of course the major reason is because she has the Lord as her Saviour. But she did tell me that the years she lived in Oklahoma were the happiest years of her life. She's had a little bit of a difficult time adjusting to being back in Indiana. However, Cindy, her daughter, has been very good to her.

Naomi is currently trying to find a place to live by herself again. She feels she could manage it, with handicap-accessible facilities. And 2 of her daughters would be close enough to help if needed. She loves to paint, and feels she would be able to set up a place where she can do that again. I saved a piece of wood from my dad's barn, and I told her the first thing she needs to paint is to paint a picture of dad's barn on that wood. She is very excited at the prospect of doing that.

Both Naomi and my mother-in-law are very lonely, being separated. They had become the best of friends, and would sit on Naomi's porch every day, weather permitting and talk and laugh.
Naomi says they are both just "waiting to see Jesus" where they can talk for eternity!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Picture Project

For a long time I've wanted to be able to scan pictures into my computer. It wasn't that I didn't have a scanner--we have a combination printer, fax, scanner. But I kept thinking it would be complicated to install the scanner. It turns out, I just put in the CD and,presto, it was installed.

The hard part was trying to figure out how to get the picture into my blog. I know there has to be a better way, but my scan program lets me click on my e-mail and copy it. So I copied it into my e-mail, and then copied it into my picture file.

So-o-o-o, until I figure out something else, this will work. I do have one little problem. There is a white border around the picture; I can't figure out how to get rid of that, so that all I have is the picture. I guess I'll have to take this one step at a time!

My other picture project was to go through several photo albums and boxes of pictures from my Dad and step-mother's things, and keep only what I thought someone might want. After working on this for several hours, I've gotten rid of all the albums, and the "keepers" are in labeled envelopes to go to the appropriate person or family. I also kept a few of what I considered "vintage" pics, that I just couldn't throw away. One of those is the picture above, which is my Mom and Dad's wedding photo.

Now that I've gone through all the pics, and sort of figured out my scanner, I'm going to the fitness center. I'm feeling the need for a good physical work-out!

Monday, May 18, 2009

"We've Sold A Farm"

That's what the auctioneer said, when it was apparent that we had a final bid on Dad's farm. Although it didn't sell for as much as we would have liked, it is somewhat of a relief to have it sold.

It has been a process and a journey as the four of us siblings have worked together to make decisions in settling the estate. We will always have our memories of happy times and events associated with the home place. It is sort of like reading a good book; it is always hard to finish the final chapter. But I am so thankful for the heritage we've had with loving, christian parents and for the harmony we have among our family members. I have come to realize that this is not true for so many families.

My sister Brenda has writtten a wonderful account about the sale, including photos. ( I had my camara, but didn't get very good pics.) After the sale, we were able to stop and wish a Happy Birthday to my Aunt Fannie (I think she turned 94 y/o) and visit with cousins for a few minutes, before going on to the Barn Restaurant to celebrate our sale.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Special Child--Samantha, Part 2

I'm sure you are all waiting with baited breath to see the pictures of the pottery Sammie and I painted. I picked up the pottery today and took them to her. She was SO excited! She thought they were beautiful--which of course they are!

I also took a picture of Sammie and her new puppy--an australian blue healer. I had never heard of that breed. There is already an obvious mutual admiration between her and the puppy.

Our treasures
I should have taken a picture of just the pottery, but you can get the idea. You can click on the picture to see Sammie's mirror a little better. It actually turned out better than I thought it would--where was my faith? I am obviously no artist, but, hey, it was really all about fun and adventure anyway.

Sammie's mom asked me what I was doing the rest of the day. They were getting ready to go to a "Fiber Art Festival". I wasn't so sure that was my cup of tea, as I totally can't knit, crochet, hook rugs, etc. But after all, it was an opportunity for another adventure. As it so happened, my husband was going to leave about 3:30 pm and be gone the rest of the evening anyway, at a men's dinner. So off we went to the festival--Sammie, her mom and I.

What a musician!

It was a very "hands-on" kind of place for kids. First, they asked Sammie if she would like to help the muscians. She really got into it with the bongo sticks.

Then a lady helped her make a little book mark--she made a star out of yarn on a firm piece of netting, and tied yarn to the top for a page marker. (I thought I had a picture, but apparently it didn't get uploaded)
She also found out that with a little help she could spin a piece of yarn from a piece of wool. Her response: "How cool!"

This gentleman explained the process of taking flax stalks and making them into linen. In this step she was pounding the flax in this very old device (but I forgot the name of it).

Then they ran the flax through this device, sort of like pulling it through teeth on a comb. The date on the machine was 1759. He asked Sammie if she knew about George Washington. Of course she did. He said, this machine was made before George Washington became president; he was only 27 years old when this was made. We've been using it ever since. Her eyes popped wide open, like she couldn't believe something could be that old. He said "you're holding a piece of history". She was very impressed.

After we left the festival, we went to 3 of Sammie's favorite places. First, we went to the Library, where she chose a book on Egyptology, and 3 books about rain forest animals.

Then we went to "Casa's" to have dinner. It's an Italian restaurant and one of Sammie's favorites. In keeping with my diet I had a large salad with grilled chicken. Sammie had spaghetti and she also ate one of the little loaves of bread by herself. She explained it was just because she was hungry.

Finally we stopped at "Tuesday Morning" store to browse. You can sometimes find some real treasures there. It turns out that Sammie loves to shop. Who knew?

What a spontaneous adventure we had! Sammie gave me a hug and thanked me for coming with them. It doesn't get much better than that.

A Great Workout

My dad passed away last June, and it is now time for the 4 of us kids to close out the estate. My dad owned a farm; some of you may know this, as I have previously posted pictures of our barn being torn down. It was in bad condition and they were able to salvage oak beams etc. So now we are getting ready to sell the farm at an auction.

Hard at work

When you own property, there is always upkeep involved. The grass had gotten very long, even though my hubby had mowed it 2 weeks ago. I had to set my mower up a notch higher to even get through the grass.
My wonderful hubby

Notice what a neat job he does--a perfect rectangle to mow around. I seem to always end up with very odd-shaped sections to mow.

At any rate, it took us 2 hours to mow the yard with both of us mowing. (Actually, Lynn had trouble with his mower, so he had to spend some time fixing it and also he started burning some brush, so he wasn't mowing quite the full 2 hours.

Needless to say, this morning I feel like an old woman. Even with ibuprofen, my legs are stiff and achy. I had started exercising and working out, and thought I should be in better shape!

Oh yes! A side note. To those of you who watched the progress of our barn coming down via pics on my blog, I thought I needed a final picture to have closure on this. It's very anti-climatic, as it is now just a bare piece of ground. It really changes the way the whole place looks, and in retrospect, it was kind of sad to see it all gone.

Hopefully, our farm land and property will sell on May 16th. It's been an interesting and nostalgic time, but it is time to move on. So we will bid farewell to the old homestead.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Young Lady gets Honors

Once again I was privileged to be a part of what is important in Erin's life. As most of you know, she is the student that I am mentoring through a program in our church called the "Titus Project"--so named for the verse that talks about the older ones teaching the younger.

Last Sunday, Erin was inducted into the National Honor Society at her school. To qualify you need to demonstrate leadership and be involved in service, as well as being a good student.

Being "pinned" by her mother

Erin was surprised that I came to the ceremony. I said, of course I would come; I was very happy for her to be honored in this way. I could tell it meant a lot to her

It was a bit nostalgic, as I remembered being inducted into NHS when I was a senior. Yes, I CAN remember back that far! I think I still have my pin somewhere in the archives.

I'm glad they still have this way of honoring students who are doing the right things. We hear so much about what young people are doing wrong. It's great to know that many of them are very responsible and doing what's right.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Special Child--Samantha

Last Saturday, I planned an outing, an adventure so to speak, with a little girl that I got to know through helping at Good News Club at her school. Her name is Samantha, but she prefers to be called Sammie.

Sammie is in second grade, and is very intelligent. However, she has some challenges. She has been diagnosed as being bi-polar. I had no idea that someone could have that diagnosis at such a young age. She apparently struggles at school, not academically, but socially. Her mother says her peers don't relate to her very well.

So, back to the adventure. I know, I know! Normally I would have some pictures to go along with this. Alas! I had my camara with me, but I guess I got so caught up in her fun and excitement, I forgot to take the pics.

We went to the "Naked Pottery Cafe"; it is a pottery studio where you can go and pick out a piece of pottery and paint it. Then they will fire it and glaze it for you. Sammie picked out a hand-held mirror (it had a depressed circular area to put a mirror in it). She decided to make it for her mom. I worked on a little candy dish.

Her choices of colors were interesting, and it was fun just to watch her work. She finished hers before I was completely finished, so she wanted to know if she could do something for her dad. She picked a little trophy cup for him.

In the car, she told me they had been studying "folk tales, tall tales, legends and fables" in school. I asked if she had a favorite one. She proceeded to tell me the story about a magic rooster--in great detail, probably word-for-word like she'd heard it.

It was a fun day! On the way home, she said she could use a "little snack" so we went through MacDonald's and got her a small hamburger and juice. (She doesn't drink sodas and very few sweets as she has some food allergies). She was a totally happy camper.

I will pick up the pottery when they get it fired and glazed, so possibly I will get some pictures when I take her treasures to her.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Long Lost Friend--Re-connected

Back when I was single--I'm talking a really long time ago--I had several close friends who all worked as nurses at what is now called the Old Lutheran Hospital in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. (It has since been torn down and a bigger version built elsewhere).

I have maintained contact by e-mail or letters with most of them, but I hadn't seen or heard from Dottie since about 1970. At that time I went to the mission field in Haiti, and she went to be a missionary in Columbia.

About a month ago, I decided to try to contact her. One of the other nurses in that group knew that she had married, and knew her last name; and she thought she lived in Goshen, In. I did a name search and found her and talked to her! It was amazing. In that conversation, we discovered that Dottie is the sister-in-law of a lady that goes to my church. She and I are friends and have gone out to eat together a few times. (Dottie's husband died a few years ago with cancer).

Thursday night Judy called me and asked if I was available for lunch on Friday. Dottie was here in town visiting her and she wanted to take her to the tea room near Cherubusco. I was so excited, as I was anxious to see Dottie and catch up on 30+ years.

Quiet Corner Tea Room

Some of the ambiance inside.

Me, Judy, and Dottie

Judy and Dottie at our table
(Notice the cute little tea cozy on the teapot)

It was about a 45 minute drive to get to the tea room. As you can imagine, we talked and laughed all the way there, while we ate, and all the way home. I probably would not have recognized Dottie if I'd seen her on the street. She used to have red hair and I always thought of her as petite, because she is so short. Now she has gray/white hair and has definitely gained some weight (haven't we all!!).

What a joy it was to see her! We had such a good time. We are planning to get together sometime with Donna Burd and Gloria, two of the other nurses we worked with.

We can have many friends, but some friends are true, blue friends for a life time. It felt like old times to laugh and chat.