Monday, June 24, 2013

June girls

As a girl, I longed for a summer birthday. Pool parties, backyard picnics, and never being in school on my birthday seemed heavenly! As it was, my birthday fell as a postscript to the Christmas and new year holidays on January 3. By then, my family was celebrated out. Boo hoo.

Neither my husband nor any of our children were born in summer, but NOW! We have Mark's wife, Jill, born June 23, and granddaughter Ashlyn born June 24. Though I'm not with either of them this year, it's fun to help them celebrate from a distance, skype and send gifts.

When I think of Jill, I smile because she exudes joy. Her laugh is natural and contagious. Jill loves my son fiercely, but she also loves all of us simply by her selflessness, thoughtfulness and pure joy in getting to know others.

As I watch Jill mother, it's obvious that she takes her job seriously. She is calm, loving yet firm, and seems to have the sense a mother needs that children grow quickly ... Jill embraces her time with Lily, and is preparing for the new challenge of mothering two!

Happy birthday, Jill (a date late)! I'm glad you enjoyed your special day. I love you!

I don't have many photos of just Jill, but love this one of
her bathing Lily last summer at our cabin.

How thankful I am to have not only one, but two daughters-in-love who love my sons and grandchildren so wonderfully. I'm tremendously blessed!

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How I enjoyed Ashlyn when I visited earlier this month. She's a sweet bundle of two-ness who can now respond to reasoning, yet also lapses into moments of frustrated screams. Her vocabulary has exploded; this visit I could understand almost everything she said. Ash is so very loving and tender, especially with her baby brother Noah. She's a cuddler who loves books and settles down nicely for her afternoon nap.

She and I had a grand time picking peas and beans in the garden!

Ash has opinions on things. She had the final say in a shoe department while I was there and wanted to buy her a pair of "sensible" tennis shoes. We left the store with two pairs of the most anti-Baba shoes imaginable: pink sparkles! One pair each for Ash and big sister Ari. How funny.

Happy 2nd birthday, sweet Ashlyn. You've claimed a special spot in Baba's heart.

Friday, June 21, 2013

I love

It's Thursday afternoon and I'm sitting on our front porch thinking I really should write a blog post and I come up empty. It's just an empty kind of day.
But in the quietness of a spectacular June afternoon, I realize that while my creative juices might not be gushing, there is much for which to be thankful. To love.

I love our little subdivision house, our home for 23 years. 
It started out with four bushes, one scrawny tree and no grass.
Now, look at my view from the front porch ...

I love my husband Bill.
I'm thankful he's past his surgery. 
His recovery is ongoing and he is uncomplaining.
Today he rode his bike!
He needs naps and daily exercises.
I've learned to be a mean therapist.
Not sure I love that.

I love having Katie live at home for a time.
She is sweet and funny and young!

I love being a mother and grandmother.
All except Katie live far from us; I don't love that.
But technology is amazing and I get to exchange thoughts and funny happenings
and Instagram photos almost daily. 
It has its down side, but I love technology that helps keep me
connected to my kids.

I love summer and digging in the flower beds.
Is there such a thing as soil therapy? I believe so.
 I love seeing so many young couples having babies.
Many baby boys lately!
This new life is in stark contrast to lives waning, such as my dad's.

I love good, real friends
with whom I can be me.

I love that life is utterly unpredictable.
Knowing what lies ahead would make life dull.

Now. I hesitate to even use the word 'love' in how I feel about house,
garden,  or technology. What does all that matter, really?

I use the concordance in the back of my Bible all the time because I need help finding verses. In it I find almost two PAGES of
references to love. From the beginning and throughout history,
God is and was love, and showed his love for us in countless ways.

We can love  because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
I love that!
Make your love list!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dads matter

From the moment a man first holds his newborn,
a dad is born, too.
And he matters.

my son Mark
As his strong arms swing a toddler over his head,
a dad matters.
When he pulls a laugh from his wife at the end of a trying day with those toddlers,
a dad matters.
When he cares for his children (it's not called babysitting) on a Saturday morning,
feeding them food their mother wouldn't,
a dad matters.
When he lets his children push the limits of safety and common sense,
fostering in them a sense of adventure,
a dad matters.
As he learns to braid hair and change diapers,
trim tiny fingernails, and fill sippy cups,
a dad matters.

When he heads to countless little league games after long days at work,
a dad matters.
When a man comforts the broken heart of his young daughter
and wipes her tears away,
he means the world to her.
When a man listens to the stories of his children's day at bedtime,
they come to rely on him, and he matters.

And when he prays with them,
he matters as they learn to turn to God for their strength.

my son Dan

When a father teaches lawn-mowing, throwing, catching, batting,
and rides for 50 hours with his student-driver son,
that dad matters.

When a man takes the old family dog to be put down,
and doesn't hide his tears from his children,
he matters.

my husband Bill

When a father is flexible and
wisely changes his fathering as his children mature,
he matters.
More than he knows.

When a man nears the end of his days
and reflects on his time of fathering,
he will find peace if had the wisdom, love and foresight ...
to matter.

my dad

Dads matter, perhaps more than anything.
They are God's respresentative on earth,
and today I honor the dads in my life:
my own dad, my husband, two of my sons, and my brothers.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Today Noah had his first doctor's appointment.
But first Jenny took a little time to read to Ashlyn.

Baba and the girls gathered craft supplies.
It was that kind of day: rain, rain, rain!

Waiting for Mommy.
(Notice Ari's fairy wings ...she's seriously into fairies.)


And while a day with a nearly-two-year old and 3-year-old
can be loud, messy, and predictably unpredictable ...
Ari and Ash are mighty loving and sweet
and we had a fun time together.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

little girl gardening

I'm in Charlotte, getting to know Noah
and lending a hand.
The newborn days ... how quickly I forget
a mother's extreme fatigue and adjustments,
a father being spread so thin,
the babe's constant needs to eat and sleep,
plus two toddlers in the mix.
When I arrived yesterday, three-year-old Ari
was proud and pleased to show me their garden.
I rather like these photos of her ...  

Plenty of pea-harvesting.
I love how she is already adept at this!

Yes, she was in her swimsuit.
A three-year-old is much too busy to
change clothes as she goes to a new activity.

I suppose most grandmothers take photographs of
their grandchildren's faces.
But I have a thing for the tops of their heads.
So soft and sweet and irresistible.

Ashlyn, nearly two.

And the newest head of all,
Noah Daniel, 5 days old.
Oh my goodness look at that hair.
I'm in love.

My dad, who lives in Nashville,
is declining bit by bit. I'm trying to focus completely
on my grandchildren, but a portion of my heart is with my dad.
It is very hard to feel pulled, physically and emotionally,
in several directions.
Today, Lord. Give me strength only for today.