Saturday, January 24, 2015

Tiny Shoes and Glimpses of Pure Innocence


Well, well ... I crocheted another tiny pair of shoes, winging the pink part as I went. (Don't look too closely.) I can't imagine they will stay on little feet for very long, but I had fun making them.


On Friday, I had a 3D glimpse of my precious cupcake. Oh, my, be still my heart! I don't know how much love one heart can hold, but mine for her is overflowing already. I see piles and piles of sugar to be had. As I watched the video that accompanied the photos, watching her suck her thumb, wave her little hands, kick her tiny feet, I was once again overwhelmed by the miracle of birth, and how anyone believes that anyone has the right to snuff out such a little life is beyond comprehension. In the words of Eunice Kennedy Shriver"Having sure knowledge of the uniqueness and potential of the life within a mother's womb, I cannot grasp how we can righteously claim authority to destroy it."


Sugar plum came on Thursday. It had been too long since I shared her company and what a sweet day it was. 

What she is wearing here, other than the little headband I made for her, is a white dress that belonged to her mother. I’ve had it on a hanger for the last 20+ years and when she wanted to play dress-up, I pulled it out and she couldn’t have looked more breathtaking in it. Her first reaction, on seeing herself in the mirror, was, “Oh, Aunt Dayle, I do look pretty, don’t I?” I assured her she was a stunning beauty. 

She said she looked like she was getting married and we talked about that for awhile (my heart nearly gave out, thinking of her getting to be so grown up). My favorite passage of the day came when she said, “But first, I’ll have to fall in love, and then I’ll get married.” I told her, yes, that would no doubt come first. And then she said, “You know who I’m gonna fall in love with?” I said, “No, who are you gonna fall in love with?” Without missing a beat, she said, “My daddy.” Oh, the pure innocence of a child, and how precious that she wants to fall in love with, and marry, a man like her daddy.

You’ve heard it said, “A little girl’s first love is her daddy,” and how he treats her sets the tone for many of the relationships in her life. What a responsibility it is to be a father, and I pray the Lord will raise up more honorable and praying fathers among us.

This has been a rambling post, so forgive me. Happy weekend, dear  peeps. Thanks for keeping me company here.

***


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Remembering ~ January 22, 1973


My precious grand-nieces, Audrey (pie) and Ainsley (sugar plum), only hours after they were born.

I never let this date slip by without thinking of the impact that Roe v Wade had on this country, and continues to have. Whatever your opinion about abortion, you have the right to have it and to voice it, and that's why I voice mine every chance I get.



My adorable granddaughter, Arabella (cupcake), due to be born in a few weeks.

On January 22, 2011, I blogged on the subjects of abortion and adoption. The post is entitled "A Time to Mourn: The Lost Little Ones."  I hope you will revisit.


***

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.

~ Psalm 139:13-18



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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

January's Gifts ~ Simple Pleasures


Sharing a meal with twin sister is always a treat, especially when it ends with something simply divine—vanilla bean crème brûlée. Hallelujah and amen.


In the kitchen window, pink spray roses and baby’s breath cast their spell and lend a touch of splendor to my ordinary days.


***

Here in my little woods, an unusual thing is going on: We still have vivid color on some of the trees. While Southeast Texas can be a mixed bag in winter, I can’t recall witnessing such a thing in recent years, and it’s all but impossible to ignore.


On a recent sun-drenched morning, I drove slowly through the neighborhood and couldn’t resist stopping and sitting a spell, captivated by the wonder of it all. Whatever my trials, they fell silent for this golden moment in time.


Sunny mornings turn into magical afternoons at my humble abode, the sun and shadows moving moving here and there, like friends at play.


If I catch the light just right, it puts my heart in motion.

The "Hallelujah Chorus" comes to mind.


Ah, January. You are full of simple pleasures, delicious surprises just waiting to be noticed and shared.

Until next time, sweet friends, may you find joy in the unmistakable gifts of January.


***

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Perfect Day for a Baby Shower

Saturday dawned with blue skies, sunshine and mild temperatures, a perfect day for my daughter's baby shower. To top it off, I was well enough to go, without wearing a mask.





It started with this adorable invitation.



The cake, with buttercream icing. 

Could it be any cuter? 



The decor was so girly, and Arabella even had her own personalized M&M's.





My daughter made the party favors. 

Aren't they so cute?




I put the centerpieces together with pink spray roses and baby's breath, two of my favorite things.



Crocheting the little hearts on the mason jars was a lot of fun. These were given away as door prizes.



I made the banner, but it didn't photograph well.


The paper was card-stock with a raised polka-dot on it.



My beautiful Anna Marie. I am so blessed to be her mother.



We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Arabella.



Family ... is there a sweeter word in the English language?

Some family members were not able to come, due to working, being out of town, sickness, or previous engagements. 

They were missed.



To have friends and family who love you is to be truly blessed.



Thoughtful gifts all around.

My mother couldn't make the event, but she sent her handmade pretties, two crocheted blankets and a baby quilt.



Speaking of crochet, I stumbled my way through the pattern for these precious, tiny shoes (don't look closely) ...



... and my niece crocheted these adorable ones. 

Adding the bow was like icing on the cake.

Don't you love them?



And speaking of shoes, when I got the rest of the cake home from the shower, I had to give the shoes their own photography session. 

Have you ever?


Until next time, sweet friends, we're in full baby mode over here. 

Five weeks and two days until due date.


***


Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Bad and the Beautiful

Wednesday, a week ago, I woke before daylight and headed east to meet my mother at her 8:00 medical appointment. My parents live two hours from me, and the road between us is one well-traveled.



It was a rich and tender day, and made me ache a little in my heart as it unfolded. From watching the sun’s first light peeking out from a layer of clouds, to relaxing in the familiar rooms of my parents’ home; from reading the daily prayer in the newspaper, to my sad attempt at taking a group selfie, it was a day I knew I would remember.

As I drove home, the nagging cough I'd noticed that morning, the one I figured was allergies, had not let up. With much to do on the calendar for January, I chided myself all the way home, with useless words like: I can't get sick. I don't have time to be sick. What is UP with this cough?

You see, peeps, I had intended to enter January in gangbuster fashion, more out of necessity than desire, but sometimes our plans go awry and by Thursday evening, I was prostrate on the sofa, a raging fever, an aching body, the worst headache I've had in many a moon, and debilitating fatigue. This was not allergies and no common cold. From all I'd read and know, having experienced it once in my lifetime, I knew I was battling the flu, and there's nothing to do but hunker down.


Thank the good Lord for a husband who knows how to take care of sick people. The next three days were borderline blurry, night running into day. Between moans and groans and blowing my nose, I cradled chicken broth that I couldn't taste, too weak to even read. By Monday—thank the Lord—I knew the worst was over. I saw the doctor on Tuesday for lingering symptoms and she gave me a Z-pack for good measure. Fingers crossed.

Now that you've heard the bad news, I'm still planning to be at my daughter's baby shower on Saturday, even if I have to wear a mask. It'll be a small lunch event, just family and a few of her close friends. She's excited. I'm excited. There'll be food and cake. Need I say more?

The due date is still six weeks away, if things go according to plan, but I'm anxious for my granddaughter (the one I'll call cupcake) to make her GRAND entrance. I can't wait to meet her! And—oh!cupcake has an official name now.



I'm in love with it, with her. 


Until next time, dear friends, thanks for hanging out with me. I've missed visiting you in blogland, but now you know where I've been and what I've not been doing.


***


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Scenes from a Blessed Life ~ The New Year is Here

A cold rain fell off and on for days, drenching the land and bringing gray skies.


While the fireplace warmed us, the kitchen smelled of soups and gumbo and chili—foods that lend comfort on those winter days when the sun hides behind leaden clouds.


Just when it seemed the rain would never end, Sunday broke, cold and golden. On my way to church, I stopped and captured this photo of trees and sky and morning. As I pulled away, I said, “Lord, thank you that nothing lasts forever.” That’s a truth we sometimes forget, especially when it's raining.

I set out to ask how your New Year was shaping up, to tell you about mine and how I didn't do the black-eyed peas and cabbage routine this year. I intended to say more, but it's been a busy day, out and about running errands and putting out fires. As I write, it is late. A single lamp burns low and the little clock on my desk ticks away the minutes. 

There is something about the stillness of night that calms the chaos, settling the mind and spirit, preparing the body for rest. Things in my world have been topsy-turvy lately, but in the quiet that surrounds me now, I am filled with peace. Tomorrow is a new day, with new mercies, as they all are, no matter what year is on the calendar.


Until next time, sweet friends, I trust the New Year will be kind to you. Thanks for keeping me company. Your visits add sweetness to my life.

***


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year-in-Review ~ Looking Back at 2014

As the year winds to a close, the days I cherish most from 2014 were those normal days that held nothing remarkable, only ordinary routines that propelled me from one day to the next. It was Mary Jean Irion who wrote: "Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are." Those are the perfect days after all.

Last December, in my 2013 year-in-review post, I wrote these words:

I don't know what 2014 holds. There may be rain and tears and hearts that break. But I have no doubt that, woven in and out of the coming months, there will also be sunshine and laughter, and more blessings  than I can count. 

All of the above came true, of course. Aren’t most years like that, filled with sun and rain, with laughter and tears, good times and bad? And it is the faithfulness of God that carries us through, year after year, no matter what we may find ourselves facing.

In the end, we choose which moments to recall, which songs to remember—the happy ones, or the long and sad ones. And it’s good, I believe, to recall some of the sad notes, because, if we let them, rough places help us grow stronger, dig deeper, pray harder.

Does that mean we need to spill all of proverbial beans, exposing all of the sordid details? I think not. Some things just aren’t my business and, quite frankly, I like it that way. But, having said that, I’m always willing to lend an ear or a shoulder, should you decide to do spill your sorrows. Believe me when I say that I carry the secrets of many inside of me, never revealed to anyone. I tell all of my friends that their secrets are safe with me and that is one promise I’ve never broken and never will. And I’m grateful to have a handful of friends who offer me the same gift.

I didn’t mean to digress, but there it is. Such things happen, but back to end-of-year matters. I can’t remember a year quite like 2014. It seemed to fly by, and yet there were months that felt like years, like I might die before the days had actually passed.

But here we are, at the end of another year. I’d love to know what your 2014 looked like, so let me know if you’re doing a year-in-review post so I can stop by.




January found The Man and I grappling with hard situations, and spending the month in one of our favorite getaway places, the lovely San Antonio. While there, precious loved-ones visited and icicles hung from Cloud Nine. Nippy, indeed!



February held deep sadness as I said goodbye to a dear friend, who left us all too soon. I miss her, still.



February also held sweet music and unspeakable joy.



March brought smiles and sighs galore, what with the company of precious pie and sugar plum, my adorable grand-nieces.



April's blessings included being pie's nanny for the month, celebrating Easter with family, and spending an evening with the parents. 



May was the beginning of a difficult and tempestuous season, but it was tempered by the beauty and steadfastness of family, a family I can't imagine facing life without.




June found us once again spending a month in San Antonio, our favorite close-to-home getaway spot. The storms still raged, but we braved it all together.




June also delivered happy faces (particularly pie's, upon celebrating her 1st birthday), the 28th birthday of our beautiful daughter, and the wonderful news that she was pregnant with her first child!




Ah, the gifts of Julyimmeasurable!



In August, we spent time with family, celebrated 34 years of marriage, and I finished my first crocheted afghan for my coming grandchild.


video


Perhaps the best gift of August was this 38-second rendition of "Do Lord," by sugar plum. I do declare I love this child. No matter the weather, she makes my heart sing.




Would you just look at the joys of September—the faces of family, and another glimpse at my unborn grandchild. This ultrasound determined that this baby was a girl and I decided I would be her Memaw and she would be my cupcake.




October has always been my favorite month, perhaps because I was born in October. The Man and I spent the month in the majestic Smoky Mountains, enjoying fall foliage, Gospel music, the company of family, and a trek to Clingman's Dome, the highest peak in the Smoky Mountains.



November, that cozy month that combines family and food, a time for giving thanks.


video


After Thanksgiving dinner, my twin sister took her adorable grandchild on her lap. It is clear, to any and all, that these two adore each other. As Nonni and pie watched a darling video of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," I captured one-minute-and 13-seconds of the purest joy you will ever see. If you can't watch it all, your reward for clicking comes instantly, so go ahead. You won't be sorry. I watch this and my heart fills completely up. How blessed we are on this earth to have the presence of little ones.




December's news was both joyous and painful. First, the joyous news. My beautiful daughter, along with twin sis and pie, were in church with me for a special service. Our precious Julian helped me paint cupcakes one rainy day. We celebrated two birthdays, went shopping for maternity clothes, got to see cupcake doing her thing in the womb, and I was given a great photo of my glowing daughter and son-in-law. The painful news: I discovered that a fall in October left me with a torn rotator cuff. Time will tell what has to happen in this situation. For now, hallelujah for cortisone injections!




And, of course, there was Christmas, that holy season that nudges us closer to Christ, and to each other.





I can't possibly end this post without a special tribute to my twin sister, GaylePut simply, I could not have made it through 2014 without her, my womb-mate, my dearest friend, my faithful prayer partner. It was she who patiently and lovingly listened to me tell the same sad story, over and over, share the same fears, over and over, express the same heartache, over and over, cry the same ugly cry, over and over. And it was she who prayed for me and with me, and encouraged me with healing words, while other times, just sitting with me, saying nothing, yet saying everything, simply by being there. I officially proclaim her to be my Woman of the Year. I have no crown to bestow on her head, but I know one day, she will receive a crown.

Well, if you're still with me, how kind you are, and long-suffering. If all goes as planned, 2015 will hold major changes for me and The Man. I fully expect to be consumed with all things grandmotherly, and I can hardly wait to meet cupcake!

Until next year, dear friends in blogland, thank you for keeping me company here, for your kind words and encouraging comments. Your friendship, even from afar, means so very much. Happy New Year to you and yours! May 2015 be filled with all of the things that make a garden grow.

***
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