Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Encouraging Ida

Granny loves the holidays, but unfortunately, she's spending this one stuck in a wheelchair living in the nursing home. So we thought we'd spice things up for her a little bit. You would have thought we had brought in a live 24-foot Douglas fir like the one in Washington, D.C.......she was so pleased with the little, silvery, tinselly thing. She was in good spirits on this day.

One night last week, I went by to see her around 7 P.M. She was wearing her red laced gown and all tucked in under 3 layers of covers (now I know why I love covers so) with the lights down low. She says to wake her up when she's asleep "I want you to wake me up!" she insists sweetly. "It breaks the monotony." So woke her up I did, and I don't know if was the heaviness of night that or the dream-like state of sleep that had her baring a soul a little more freely to me. She talked of what ifs (what if that darn swivel chair hadn't taken me down), and she affirmed God's protection over her (it didn't even hurt! God was right there with me.) She expressed her motherly worries (how's your Uncle Rex [her son] doing) and then spoke of her frustration at her current situation (I just want to be home). I wasn't sure what home she was talking about, her earthly one or heavenly one, but I just felt my heart twist up and I said, "Granny, God has left you about this old earth for some reason. He has a little more work for you to do here." She looked at me with a tiny twinkle in her eye. "You think so?" she wondered aloud.... "I know so, Granny!" I replied. "In fact," I explained, "you are already doing God's work, just being here in this nursing home and living so faithfully with your eyes on Jesus." I told her that several of my friends have been inspired by her over the years and especially lately. (I know this, friends, because you've told me!). "Really?" she questioned. "Yes, granny." I told her I share with my friends her love for God, her fear of nothing but him, the way she is always looking for God to return to earth, in anticipation of meeting Jesus each and every day of her life. She said, "Well, that just makes it worth it, then doesn't it," she whispered before she drifted off in sleep.

If my granny has touched you in any way, if you have seen her faith shine, I'd ask you to consider taking a moment and telling her so. I'd love you to send her a card to the nursing home. I know that many of you have never met her, but felt you have from hearing me talk about her incessantly. :) The words from you would confirm to her that her faithful walk has touched hearts along the way, even those she doesn't even know. It would make her days there a little softer. Here is her contact info:

Park's Edge Nursing Center
Attn: Ida Reynolds
5115 East 51st Street
Tulsa, OK 74135-7430

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Perfect Pairings - Ephesians 5:15-16

Ellie (who you might notice walks to the beat of her own drum...) walks in the house and says through clenched teeth: "Look mom, I'm multitasking!" I wonder where she gets that from? Ha!

Here's my perfect pairing emphasizing the "value" of multitasking..... Ephesians 5: 15-16....Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Turkey Day {Bittersweet}

Thanksgiving was bittersweet this year. And I'm not talking about the food. Bitter in that it was the first year in 40 that I didn't spent Thanksgiving with my extended family at my cousin's house, like we have always done before.

Sweet in that Thanksgiving was spent at our house with our immediate family, mom, dad plus Kim and family. And my cousin Heather and her kiddos came over later that day. Bitter in that my granny is in the nursing home right now, and it's so hard to see her there when you know that she wants to be home with her family.

Sweet in that we all went to see her and took her a heaping plate of our favorite dishes.

Bitter in that we knew that the guys were leaving for 10 days the morning after Thanksgiving.
Sweet in that we know that God is with our husbands and with us too as we manage our households alone.
And the rest was just sweet, sweet, sweet as we ate, played games, wrestled (that would be Luke and Kyler) and enjoyed the day. Hope yours was sweeter than bitter too!

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Caught My Dog Worshipping God Today

Wilson is such a good dog. He crates contentedly. He was potty trained in a few, short days. No kidding! He has had two surgeries and absolutely will not chew on his stitches. He cuddles on command. He plays rowdily when summoned. He knows how to sit and a few other tricks. And now he worships God. I saw it.

I let him outside the afternoon and the weather was warm and musty with leaves. Wilson sensed that too and decided to stay out back for awhile. Later, I checked on him and saw him sitting on the ground, nose pointed to the sky, eyes closed, breathing in life. And I thought, I bet he's worshipping the one true God, what a dog! Can you picture the moment? I ran right out with my camera to capture the doggy devotional, but he of course looked up at my interruption. Let's all be more like Wilson tomorrow... and just take a minute to stop, breathe in the fresh air and worship God!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Halloween Randomness

Some darling people I know coordinate their Halloween costumes.

Like Jonni Baloney whose entire family dressed up as different Mario characters.... yes, even the adults dressed up. I think that's so darn cute. And Katie's kiddos were all super duper coordinated.

You guys are my idols. Because what my kids chose to be were ...... drumroll please...... a table, a twin, and an injured skateboarder. There is no great photo op for costumes so random as these. Ellie was absolutley determined to be a table for Halloween. After dumpster diving for boxes, I finally went to UPS and paid over 20 bucks for a 3X3 one. A few cuts with a box knife and one trip to the thrift store later, and oh yeah, a LOT of hot glue, she had a fun costume that took everyone she saw by surprise.

Boys of course want to be as gory or scary as possible. After working my buns off on the table, i was relieved to shred up some old clothes and throw on some red and black makeup for the effect of scrapes and bruises. He was perfectly happy and as an added bonus, he got to ride his skateboard around on Halloween night.
And here is Kami's twin sister Katie. No matter that Kami is about a foot shorter than her and their hair is different colors, and so on. What they did have in common was that they are both darling. And coordinated!
Okay, a little random, but a lot fun. Can't believe another Halloween has come and gone.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In a Baking Kind of Mood

I think if I lived in a simpler time, I'd be a canner of all things preservable. Baker of golden-brown pies and cobblers. I'd stuff my visitors' hands with baked goodies. Everyday would be a day that my home would smell like my granny's. Scrumptlicious.

However, 2010 time corners me and forces me to schlop the ingredient heavy applesauce off the shelves at Walmart, and anonymous cans of soup line my pantry.

Lately, though, I really have been in a baking kind of mood. I think I started making Pumpkin Bread the very weekend the pureed pumpkin hit the supermarket - seasonal item, you know. And even before granny's fall, I was simmering up pots of brown beans and muffin cups of cornbread. Just tastes like granny, you know? This weekend, I cooked up a big batch of homemade noodle soup... and yummy, we ate every last tidbit.

I don't want to forget granny's favorite dishes, so I decided to post the recipes right here, right now. There's no sugar-free or fat-free claims on any of these, but hey, she's been eating this stuff for years on end, and she's 99. Just saying!

Here are a few of our favorites:

Brown Beans and Ham
Soak brown beans overnight. In the morning, drain beans, rinse and cover again with water a few inches above the bean line. Add hamhock, salt pork or other source of flavoring (ham cubes and crumbled bacon are other possibilities.) Bring to a rapid boil and then turn down heat to simmer. In there somewhere, you will need to add salt and sugar to taste. Granny guesstimates that she starts with about 3 tsp. salt and 2 tsp. sugar, but she really has no idea. Simmer down for about 4-5 hours. A family favorite.

Old Fashioned Applesauce
Peel apples, as many as you want. Cut into pieces. Add H20, but not completely covering the apples. Just so you can see it through the apple pieces. Cook down til done, or soft and mushy. Mash up as you cook if you want. Add sugar and cinnamon to taste. That could be 1-2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 C sugar for starters.

Mashed Potatoes
Peel 5-6 potatoes, if that sounds good to you. Dice into chunks. Cook down til soft. Real soft. Pour most water out, but leave a small amount. Add 1-2 sticks butter. Add milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix with mixer. This is potato heaven or as Ellie calls it "creamy goodness."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Field Trip Favorite

One great highlight of elementary school is the day-long field trip to the one-room school house in Perry. It was a great learning experience when Kami went (and I had my camera fully charged), and Ellie loved it too, (but my battery lasted all of two and a half minutes, Dang Technology!). So my pictures are few but the memories are many. (which pretty much kills me by the way - the picture part that is...)

Ellie is more of a prairie girl at heart (remember the summer of Laura Ingalls Wilder?) and she soaked in the bridge of time, the school marm, the strict learning environment, the lessons on the slateboards, the spelling bee and the kid who had to put his nose in the circle on the chalkboard. For a day, no smartboards, no intercom announcements, no lunchables and no smart-mouthed boys (for this is the age when the boys really smart noticing the girls and their way of getting attention? Smart-mouthing. Ellie knows. It happened again today).

So glad that Ellie could experience just a taste of what her very own Great Grandma Ida lived in her childhood. Kami's post contains an interesting interview with Granny about her schooling, and this time my sister and I went over and got Granny on film. I would love to post snippets of her when I can so you can get to know her better and go back into time yourself to a time when things were simpler and humbler and... cold! Granny says the only bathroom was God's green earth and that when it was cold, then so was your hiney! Cold hineys aside, the "good" old days are a'calling my name.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In All of Her Glory

Fall, beautiful fall, on fire with beauty.
I know I am absolutely driving my kids bonkers as I point out the exact hue of each and every tree that catches my eye. I have definitely become a full-fledged "old person" as I ooh and ahh at the oaks and elms on every street of our town. This year's foliage has been absolutely stunning though. Has there ever been a prettier fall season? While watching the trees closely the last few days, I was thinking how funny it is that God gave their ravishing beauty directly before they shed their leaves and become bare. Only God could do something so surprising, so gorgeous, so blessed! It's sad that the beauty will go, but such a gift of God, one we can enjoy and savor.

And God is working His magic in another area too... He is allowing my granny to glow like the yellows and reds and oranges that are lining our streets. She is granny in her full beauty... so precious and bursting with the Spirit of God. Inevitably she, like the rest of us, will shed her leaves, but before she does, she is truly glorious, attracting attention whereever she is.

And that whereever she is is.... right now.... a nursing home. After 99 years of living, and living independently, she needs constant help. She is not able to put any weight on her leg yet, so the rehab wing of the nursing home is her temporary home. It's surely to be a tough adjustment, but my beautiful granny doens't complain. She smiles. She says witty things. She hurts, to be sure, but her attitude is no-doubt a testimony to her faith in God.

You may have read what I put on Facebook when she was still in the hospital . After singing "How Great Thou Art" from her hospital bed, she declared, "My God is so great, and He is so good to me." Then she quipped, "Put that on Facebook!" Yesterday, while talking to my mom about the challenge of becoming mobile again, she said, "If Jesus can walk on water, I know God can help me walk again!" I walked in her room a couple days while she was sleeping. Her eyes popped open "Annie!" she exclaimed. "Is anyone here with you?" she asked. "No just me," I answered." She smiled lightly and said, "Just you and the Lord!" One night, I ran by to see her. She wasn't feeling well, but I wheeled her down to the assembly room where a gospel band was singing "He Touched Me," and "Oh How I Love Jesus." I watched as she raised her hands in faith to her Father, and tears rolled down my cheeks as a I did the same.

Sometimes, my sister and I talk about how hard it is to see Granny hurting, living in the nursing home and for things to be so different than they were before. We wonder if it would be better if she could just go to the place that she's longed to be for most of her life... in heaven with Jesus. But I think her work here isn't quite done yet... God's making her a colorful and stunning testament to His goodness and mercy. Praise Him!