Thursday, September 29, 2011


Well past midnight last night, the Tampa Bay Rays did what no team in baseball history has ever done. Coming into September with a 9-game deficit in their division, they roared back and in a final regular-season game to determine the American league wild card, beat the New York Yankees and secured for themselves a berth in the postseason.

If you're not a baseball fan, and if that paragraph just went mushy in your head, that's ok. This post isn't completely about baseball.

Seemingly, the Rays didn't have much in their favor back in April. They'd lost a pack of top players over the winter. They lost their first six games of the season. And finally, coming into September, there was almost no way statistically to make their way into the postseason.

What they did have was manager Joe Maddon, who believes in his guys. He told them they could win and treated them like men, not boys. Over the course of the season, time and again, the Rays would come from behind and win games. In fact, miraculously, they were behind 7-0 in last night's game going into the bottom of the 8th inning. And won in the 12th. Man. I wonder what's on the minds of the fans seen leaving in the 6th inning?

So. Those Rays are tenacious. They don't give up even when all signs point to the futility of a good effort.

Today, I wonder. Am I tenacious in the important things of life? Do I show love to my husband and kids, even when I'm tired and feel under-appreciated? Love is shown not only by words, but actions.

Do I look for ways to honor others above myself? Am I willing to be inconvenienced for the sake of another? In the words of one Rays player, "we are grinders [hard workers] who go in and play every game as hard as we can." Am I a grinder for God and His kingdom?

It's kind of funny, and maybe a stretch, to draw a parallel between baseball and my life. But God can teach me in any way he chooses. He's God! And I think, just maybe, He might have been enjoying that game last night in St. Petersburg.

On to Texas!

Images by J. Meric/Getty

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

fearfully and wonderfully made

Dear littlest granddaughter,

I don't yet know your name; your mom and dad are keeping it a secret until your birth. I love surprises! Last Friday I went to the ultra-sound appt at Grady Hospital. (Your dad called it "Gravy" Hospital when he was a small boy.)
There on the screen flickered the most beautiful image: YOU!
A lovely, perfect head. Strong arms waving, your right thumb finding your mouth. You even stretched one foot all the way up to your head!
And then, the technician said, "oh, yes - it's a girl!"

I just loved watching you, so full of life, and thankful I was invited to see you.
It made me even more excited, and I wondered how I can wait 20 more weeks to swaddle you up, hold you and nuzzle your downy head.

You take all the time you need to grow strong and healthy, sweet girl ... we will wait. And then, on that winter day that God has ordained, we will joyfully welcome you into the world and into our lives.

Love you already, forever,
your Baba

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psalm 139:13-14

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Centennial dad

No, my dad isn't 100. But over the weekend I visited him in Nashville, along with my sister and nephew and we took him to Centennial Park. Saturday was spectacular: highs in the 70s and sunny. We asked Dad if he might be up for an outing. He never turns down an outing with us, even if it nearly exhausts him!

Thanks to a most friendly and helpful nurse, Allo, we had a picnic basket loaded with sandwiches, fruit, and chips. Off we went to Centennial Park, so named when it was built in the late 1800's to celebrate Nashville's centennial. The park's centerpiece is the Parthenon, an impressive replica of the one in Athens.

My brilliant sister had thought to bring a folding chair, so after our picnic, Dad was content to sit and observe the people, squirrels, ducks on the lake, and watch us shoot photos. Although Dad's in a wonderful place, his typical days are much the same. The change of scenery and fresh air seemed to perk him up.

We sat under a tree that Dad called an Indian Cigar tree. Knowing Dad, he could have made up this name, but it made for interesting conversation!

My sister's son, Dakotah, wanted to visit his granddaddy. What a caring and helpful grandson! I don't know many 16-year-olds like that. Thank you, Dakotah.

What a blessing to spend the weekend with our dad. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

autumn's in!

I'm taking a little break. Not because I need a break from writing, no! How I'd love to sit and write and write some more. But I'm spending the weekend with some dear ones .... and that's good too.                                                                I will see you next week, figuratively speaking. In the meantime, isn't it wonderful to be anticipating autumn? I'm excited!                                                                       And something is terribly weird with blogger, so the words are all over the place!                                              

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

quite a ride

Summer 1942. Elizabeth Muriel Thayer, 25, set off on a biking adventure with some girlfriends. If you can imagine, they toured New York City and New England. Elizabeth says she doesn't remember a lot about it, but we found this marvelous photo which I used to make her birthday card, and entitled it "Quite a Ride" for Elizabeth is turning 95 today. Imagine all she's witnessed in her lifetime. Autos hadn't been around long when she was born. Radio, television, space travel, convenience foods, and the computer age all came about. Through it all, Elizabeth became a wife, mother, schoolteacher, widow, grandmother and great-grandmother. She is our link to a simpler time and embodies the love and grace of a life well-lived. We all love you, Elizabeth/Mom/Grandma/"GG" and wish you the happiest birthday in all your 95 years!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

birthday lunch for our queen

Today we'll celebrate my mother-in-love's 95th birthday
with a family lunch out in Plain City, Ohio.
Elizabeth's sister will be there,
as well as her sons, many cousins, nieces & nephews, grandchildren
and great-grandchildren.
Some live too far away, but will join us in spirit.
And speaking of spirit,
this photo captures  Elizabeth's spirit perfectly.
Her thoughtfulness of others and cheerful demeanor
has endeared her to so many, including my three sons.
What a blessing she is to us!

(I'm thankful to my daughter, Katie, who captured this image three years ago.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

there and back

Still alive! We slipped up to the cabin in northern Michigan for a few days ... where there is no internet in any practical sense of the word.

The weather, which plays a huge part in our time there, was SPECTACULAR. Highs in the 70's and lots of sun. Then on Monday evening the wind kicked up. And blow it did all night long. No wimpy winds up around the Great Lakes. Powerful, make-me-feel-small winds. I think I might love wind as much as I love water. It makes me feel alive!

Anyway, though I had my camera, I took very few photos. Bill and I made two bike rides to the harbor/lighthouses (10 miles round trip) and busied ourselves with the usual chores and required autumn cleaning-up. It's still summery-looking in northern Michigan, but if you look closely, you'll see small tinges of autumn.

We also made time to read and chat with our neighbor guys, who by the way, love to fish on Grand Lake until - I don't think I exaggerate - ice begins to form on the lake. (And after that, they ice fish in the dead of winter.) Jody and Alan brought us a bag of beautiful, ready-to-cook walleye.  Awesome eating!

At this time of year, Grand Lake seems to be a best-kept secret. Most of the wave-runners and skiers have been replaced by slow kayakers like me, ducks, and even a great blue heron we spotted one morning as we poured our coffee.

It's also good to be home, near family, friends, neighbors. In these I am content.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Wow, I am a grump sometimes. Why do I let the negatives in life take root in my heart and produce a complaining spirit? I really have nothing to complain about, yet complain I do. About my house. (Imagine, today I said, "this house smells like dog." Well, DUH, a DOG lives here, so it's my job to do something about the smell!) About some repairs we need to get done, but haven't. And worst of all, to focus on the shortcomings of others, including my husband, rather than offering praise and encouragement.

In first Thessalonians, Paul instructs the brothers to
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

It's a simple yet powerful command and is not contingent on good feelings, a fat bank account, a clean house, or flawless relationships. Paul praised God from a dark prison cell.

I think I'll write these verses on a bookmark to use in the book I'm reading. I would do well to be continually reminded to continually give thanks, in all circumstances!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

big birthday coming up!

four generations

This lovely lady (the elder) has a birthday this month, on September 20. Bill's mom, my dear mother-in-love, will turn 95! Elizabeth is still living somewhat independently and spends her days reading, working jigsaw puzzles and watching the Cleveland Indians & Browns, Ohio State, and - this week - professional tennis. She's quite a lady with a young spirit!

If you know Elizabeth and would like to send her a card, email me at and I'll send you her address. She doesn't want a fuss made over her, but who doesn't like getting mail?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

six feet of books

As of 6/28/95 you have all these books checked out on your card. All books from the day you were here have been checked in.
25 is your book limit. 42 of the 49 items you have are books.
Please return at least 17 of the books. THANK YOU.
Return them to the circ desk as soon as possible so that they may be checked in immediately and your record cleared.

I swear on my library card, this is the red-penned, word-for-word hand-written note on a computer print-out from 16 years ago. I found it so funny at the time that I tucked it away for the day I'd find it and laugh again.
That day has arrived.

The amazing feature of our library is that fines are optional!
Yep, if you bring in a book (or 42) past the due date, you can choose
whether or not to donate a fine. Just drop your coins or bills
 in the big jar at the front desk.

I wonder how many other library patrons take advntage of the policy and, like me, become extremely irresponsible with their books. Had the fines been mounting, you bet I would've ordered the kids to search
under beds for all 42 books.
And no dinner til you find them!

Friday, September 2, 2011

just did it

Happy Friday! Happy article! Yes, I got it done, just awaiting some in-house editing. It was a quite a task. If you enjoy good writing, thank a writer!

Have a great Labor Day weekend, everyone!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

hey, Mom

Hey, Mom. Today you would have been 86 years old. It's hard to imagine you that old, because when you left us, you were younger than I am now.

I still miss you. How I would love to call you (or email!) and share something about the kids. You would be so proud of David, Dan, Mark and Katie, and Jenny and Jill, too. You would have built tender relationships with them. You were such a warm and relational person.

You always looked forward to grandchildren and now I know why, with two of my own. You somehow knew the precious love they would bring to a grandmother's heart. You'd be a great-grandmother now! Not sure you even thought ahead that far. But I am sure of one thing.

Through the short 24 years we had, you taught me to laugh at myself, not others. To listen to my children. To love my husband. To care for neighbors and love the unlovable. To try new things. That life is short and a few dirty dishes or dusty shelves mean a lot less than time spent with my children. And in the end, if our time on earth is shorter than we hoped, to have no regrets in how we lived.

Thank you for all you taught me. I love you, Mom. Happy birthday.