Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dying with Grace

My friend, Kay, moved to Heaven yesterday. Her life has been an inspiration to me in the years I've known her... but never more so than the past few weeks, as she serenely faced death. She was diagnosed with a Stage 4 brain tumor in early July, with only 3 to 6 months to live. She didn't quite make it to the 3-month mark.

In August we had Kay and her husband, Bill, over for supper. It was obvious that the tumor was taking a toll on her physically, but she was completely at peace and so happy to spend the evening with us.

There was no hint of grief or sorrow in either Kay or Bill, as we visited with them. I was amazed at all the blessings they shared with us... as the tumor had grown it had somehow suppressed the intense headaches Kay had been suffering with and she was able to sleep at night... they have heard from people whose lives they influenced 20 or 30 years ago and had no idea until now.

It has been just a little over 2 years ago since their son, Brad, was killed in Iraq. I was so amazed at the peace and serenity Bill and Kay exhibited at that time... and now this. I am convinced that only a close walk with the Lord can bring that kind of peace during such trying times.

Kay hugged me as they left that evening. She said, "Just remember God is always so much more gracious to us than we are to Him."
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21

Monday, September 28, 2009

Crocheted Dog

A few weeks ago my niece emailed me the pattern for this cute crocheted dog, wondering if I would be interested in making it for her kids.
I thought he was just as cute as could be, and I always enjoy trying new crochet patterns. I had never crocheted toys before... so I wasn't sure what to expect. It turned out to be easier than I expected, though I had to keep careful count of my stitches.

My teen daughters were even impressed with the results. I'm thinking of making another one in black and white (instead of brown and off-white) for my own family! I guess you never out-grow a cute stuffy, do you?

Time to get in your carry bag, little doggy!
Off you go to live with Lillie and Titus and Zethan!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pride and Joy

"How sweet to hold our newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy she gives...
But greater still...
...the calm assurance,
this child can face uncertain days
because He lives!"

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Last Day of Summer

We have enjoyed a beautiful September. Today was sunny and warm... a perfect day for a bike ride! There is a really nice "rails to trails" bike trail in our area that we like to ride on.
The problem we've had before is that dogs have to be leashed on the trail, and it's hard to ride a bike and control a dog on a leash at the same time. We had talked about getting a bike trailer for Cookie to ride in, but we kinda hated to spend the money on something like that. We had been keeping an eye out at garage sales, and finally, earlier this week we saw one listed on Craig's List for $3!!! Obviously, it's old and worn, but it was still in working condition, so we were very happy to get it for that price.
Cookie, however, was not impressed. We did everything we could think of to make her comfortable, but she just did not enjoy the experience at all. She was sure she would much rather be allowed to run loose!
In spite of the dog's "complaints" the rest of us enjoyed the bike ride.
The weather was perfect...
...the scenery was, as always, beautiful...
I enjoyed looking at the wildflowers along the way. I wondered what this pretty red berry is. I saw a few tiny purple blooms on a couple of the plants, but most have turned into these tomatoey-looking berries. They are about the size of blueberries. I couldn't find the plant in my wildflower book.
When we turned around to head back to the truck, the dog settled down a little bit. We wondered if she just didn't like the head-wind on the first part of the ride, or if she was finally getting used to the little trailer.
It kinda reminded me of how we are with God sometimes. He provides us with everything we need for our comfort and enjoyment... but we complain because we don't get to do things "our way" instead of enjoying the ride!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Fairy Ring

Look what my mother found marching across her front lawn one day last week when she came home from visiting my sister...
I'm pretty sure the "wee folk" have set up camp in her yard!
Don't you think?

(Isn't it amazing how the mushrooms grew so big so fast? They hadn't been there before. I think my mother ought to have her own blog... but until she does, I'll just post interesting things she sends me right here!)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Back in the woods...

Exploring the forests around here is so much fun! When we go hiking or Geocaching we never know what we might come across. You'd think it would be mostly trees with the occasional beautiful view or wildlife sighting. Well, yeah, of course there's that... and that's why we like to go. But every now and then we find things that indicate that someone has been there before us.

There was the tiny make-shift shelter... the falling-down log cabin... and the stand-alone fireplace...

On one of our recent hikes we came across this seemingly random sign tied to a tree along the forest path...
"Bathroom Available." What in the world? I don't see a bathroom!

So we kept hiking. A short distance down the trail we spotted this structure...
Hmmm... that's kinda different...

On closer inspection we realized that this was the "bathroom"!
No wonder there was a sign along the trail!

I'm just glad it wasn't flipped to this side when we came across it...
...because we wouldn't have had a clue, and would have kept going anyway!!

I'd never seen an "open air toilet" before. Have you?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It's not all sunshine...

It rained on the second day of our Labor Day Weekend camping trip. Not just a quick shower... but off-and-on all day. What do you do when it rains on a camping trip?

Lyle enjoyed standing under the awning watching the rain come down.
We had planned to go Geocaching that day, but didn't relish the idea of tramping through dripping trees. Becky was just sure the day was a total bust. It wasn't.
In between showers the girls went wading in the lake. I expect the water was cold, but they didn't complain!
When they came back to the campsite we put up a canopy over the fire ring. We spent several hours reading around the fire.
We had fresh popcorn for a snack!
When it began to get dark we went inside the trailer and played games and had hot chocolate.

It was a relaxing, cozy day in spite of the rain!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Run that by me again?

Becky has taken an interest lately in collecting and trying to identify rocks. So far, she knows quartz when she sees it. She found the above specimen on a hike we went on earlier in the summer.

Yesterday she came in with a sparkly rock that belongs to the little neighbor girl. She was very impressed with the beauty of it and wondered what kind of rock it was. I didn't know, so she wandered back out.

A few minutes later she came charging back in, fairly bristling with excitement. "Mom! I need to call Grammy!"

I could tell it was something very urgent, but I still had to ask. "Why do you need to call Grammy?"

"Well, you remember the box of rocks you got for PaPa that time? She can look at that green rock in it and tell me what kind it is. That's the same kind as this one!"

The neighbor girl's rock was not green... but, "Okay. Call Grammy." And off she went.

Soon she returned with my cell phone, perfectly satisfied. "Grammy was a big help! It's a cardayvoo!"

Now, I admit, I don't know much about rocks, but I didn't remember ever hearing of... "a what?!?"

"A cardayvoo! I think that means crystal!"

All righty then.

And back out she went to spread the good news. The rock had been identified!

I immediately called my parents. Dad answered the phone. I could tell he had it on speaker phone for Mother's benefit. The first words out of my mouth were, "Are y'all laughing?"

Were they laughing? They were laughing so hard they could hardly talk.

Mother said there were about 3 green rocks in the box so she didn't know which one Becky meant. "Is it the green one with the gold sparkles in it?"

"Yeah! That's the one!"

"Well, that's an amethyst."

"Okay. Thank you! Good-bye."

How she got "cardayvoo" out of "amethyst" we'll never know!

She does have auditory processing issues so often says things in a funny way... but this was one of the funniest! What makes it even funnier... the neighbor girl's rock is white, not green. And it's definitely not an amethyst. Who knows? Maybe it is a "cardayvoo"!