Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Counting Down ~ Scenes from a Blessed Life

Dear friends, as the cupcake countdown continues, I figured I might as well share some things that have been happening in the last few weeks, while I have time and inclination. Once cupcake arrives, I will only have eyes for her; at least that's what I've been told.

Thanks to Pawpaw (that would be The Man), Memaw (that would be me) got a new rocking, reclining, swiveling chair! I’m not much into leather chairs, but I fell hard for this one. It’s simply perfect. The right size. The right shape. So comfy, and I can picture sharing many special moments with my cupcake right here. 

Our days of late have been cold and the nights colder.

Occasionly, our winters surprise us. It was about this time last year when we were contending with icy conditions, but, for the most part, we have just enough winter to enjoy the warm comforts of home.

Did I mention Valentine's Day? Young love is a breathtaking thing, but there’s nothing more rewarding than looking across the table at your spouse and knowing that you’ve not only shared the sun-drenched days of summer, but you’ve clung together in hurricane winds, and huddled together in the bitter nights of winter. Love that has been tested, that has deepened, that has weathered a few storms, such is true love. I was blessed to spend my 34th Valentine’s Day with The Man. We have our ups and downs, as all couples do, but we're still hanging in there.

My grand-nieces are still just as grand as ever. I call one pie, the other sugar plum, for those who may be new to this space. Here are a few collages from recent days. I've often declared that it is remarkable, simply remarkable, how much love one heart can hold. These two keep mine pushing at the seams.

And this video of sugar plum and The Man making music ... oh my. It puts an unrelenting grin on my face every single time I watch it. Have mercy!

Until next time, sweet peeps, Arabella's friends are waiting for her arrival ...

And is this not the cutest baby bib ever?


Monday, February 23, 2015

A Serendipitous Sunday ~ Monday Musings

As I write, it is Sunday afternoon, the skies overcast, the air misty, cooling down yet again in these parts. This day has not gone according to my normal Sunday schedule, but it’s been a good weekend—from yesterday, visiting with my dear parents, to today, sharing leftover roast-beef with my daughter, and taking ginger ale and throat meds to my ailing twin sister (prayers appreciated for her).

The best part of the day came earlier, when I stepped outside with my little camera to capture a few shots of the rosebush, the one that has been showing off for weeks now. I was at once amazed by the silence that greeted me. It seemed as if the whole world was off taking a nap somewhere. No traffic. No neighbors out and about. Just the healing sound of silence that I need so often. I was surprised to find it here, on a Sunday afternoon.

I don’t know about you, but it is in moments of stillness that my spirit is renewed, that my faith is strengthened. Try as I might, I cannot find these necessities in noisy settings, whether it be a church service, a friend gathering, or even a family event. I find them only in stillness.

So, as I stood under a gray February sky, just me and the roses, in a serendipitious moment of stillness, I closed my eyes and let the silence sink deep into my soul. For a second, I wondered if God had ordained that I step outdoors and into the quiet afternoon. I don’t know. Maybe He did. 

This thought swept fully through me, reminding me of the words in James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no instability, neither shadow of turning.” The unexpected silence. The roses. Gifts from the Father. But that is not all. In a world that constantly changes, He, the Father of lights, remains always the same.

As I turned back to the house, the words of an old hymn welled up in me, and I wanted to share them with you here, dear friends:

"Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own great presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside."

Lyrics penned in 1923 by Thomas O. Chisholm.

Until next time, sweet kindred spirits, may you encounter serendipitous moments of stillness this week, to renew your spirit and strengthen your heart.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

On Changes and Choices

Dear friends, two days ago, wearing flip-flops and short sleeves, spring seemed imminent, but I know I can’t trust warm weather in February. Winters here are always a mixed bag and constant changes must be dealt with. I’ve thought about that and how life is much the same. Things change, often unexpectedly, requiring adjustments of both attitude and actions.

You’ve heard it said that our choices determine our destiny. That is true. It could also be said that the choices of others can have a lasting impact on our path and our future, as well. Just ask the child whose father was killed by a drunk driver. Every day will find an empty chair at the dinner table, a daddy lost, because of another person’s choice.

Yesterday, as evening fell, the outside air cooled and collided with the warm air, fogging up the windows. I reached for a sweater and found myself craving a cup of tea. 

While the kettle gained steam, I set out the milk and honey. Later, I watched my daughter writing thank-you notes and felt an intense love for her and for the precious child she is carrying.

Whenever life brings hard changes to us, the best we can do is process them as we are able, strive to remain fully in the moment, not looking too far ahead, trust that God will bring good out of it all, and choose to embrace the blessings that will always abound.

As I write, the afternoon sun has made its way through the grays of morning, reminding me that change can be a friend. A stack of firewood sits beside the fireplace, ready to offer warmth as night deepens. A simple meal of chicken and rice and mushrooms is planned for supper. 

Later, I will put the kettle on and settle down with my crochet needle to work on the afghan that is coming along nicely. As I find that blissful crocheting rhythm, I will think of my grandchild, only days away from being born, and feel my heart preparing itself to be overwhelmed with a love like no other. And I will give thanks to God for His grace and for all that has been given to me.

Until next time, dear friends, thanks for your company and for sharing this quiet space of reflection with me.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

"Hello, I love you." ~ The Way of Romance

One evening, some years ago, my husband went to Wal-Mart, and I went to bed. Back in the pre-retirement years, when both of us worked full-time jobs, our schedules weren't always in sync, so it wasn’t unusual for us to be two ships passing in the night.

The next morning, we kissed good-bye and went our separate ways again. Later, I looked at my cell-phone and noticed a new voicemail message.

“Hello, Dayle,” my husband’s voice said. “This is your husband. I’m at Wal-Mart and just wanted you to know that I love you. I know I don’t tell you often enough, but I do love you very much.”

Feeling warm and loved, I called him and said, “Aren’t you sweet—calling me from Wal-Mart just to say you love me. What made you think about me?” Knowing my husband is a romantic soul, I thought maybe he had seen some cutesy Valentine’s Day lingerie at Wal-Mart and bought it for me; it wouldn't be the first time he'd done such a thing.

He laughed. “You don’t want to know.”

“I don’t?”

"No," he said, sounding sheepish. “I bought a new headpiece for my cell-phone and wanted to try it out.”

I had to laugh. Not exactly what I had hoped for, but look at it this way: Of all the people out there, he called me. And instead of saying, “Hello, Dayle. I just bought a new headpiece for my phone and wanted to try it out,” he said, “Hello, Dayle … I love you.” 

Now, if that isn’t romantic, I don’t know what is.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Monday Musings ~ On Crochet, Family, Music, Light Fixtures, and Roses

Life has been whizzing right on by. We're now three weeks away from cupcake's due date. Just thought I'd drop that piece of information right up front, in case I'm even more absent in blogland in the coming days than I am in the current days. EEEEK!!! I'm quite the excited Memaw. 

Other than anticipating my first granddaughter's arrival, here's what's been happening in and around my little woods.

I started a crochet project, an afghan for my neighbor's daughter who is getting married in May. This is not the neighbor I blogged about recently, but another longtime neighbor. Our daughter's grew up together and now they are grown.

If I'm lucky, the finished project will resemble this beauty. I love the edging on this one and hope I can pull it off. The great thing about crocheted pieces is, as long as they're on a delicate cycle, they wash and dry like a charm.

On a recent slow day, I was bored and crocheted these little shoes for Arabella, (aka cupcake). I put my own spin on a similar pattern and may add a button, or a bit of bling, to these later on.

After a very traumatic week (if we're friends on Facebook, you can read all about it there), The Man and I gathered with family on Friday evening and enjoyed a night of the Gaither Vocal Band at the Arena Theater. I've written about the healing sounds of music before, and Friday night bolstered my beliefs once again. To be with family, surrounded by harmonies and worshippers, well, it doesn't get any better than that. (We may or may not have attempted one group selfie too many.)

In the breakfast nook, a new light fixture can be found. I am still trying to decide if I will keep it. I loved it in the store and loved it when The Man hung it up. My sweet daughter referred to it as the "cafeteria buffet light" but, oh well, I still love it. I'm leaning toward keeping it. What say ye? Go ahead. Be frank. I can take it.

We've had unseasonably warm weather the last few days, with temps in the high 70's on Sunday. My knockout roses are in full bloom. I don't think they've bloomed this early before. Maybe they're bursting out in pink in anticipation of Arabella's arrival.

Until next time, sweet friends, I know I've been slow getting around visiting lately. The reasons abound, but I hope we can pick up where we left off, because your company means so very much to me.


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Friday, January 30, 2015

On the Edge of Night

Our neighbor of 25 years, is not well. Dementia moved in and moved fast. It was as if one week she saw us in the yard and strolled happily across the street, taking a break from raking or pruning a rose bush to swap stories of gardening and children, and the next week, a look of confusion swept over her face whenever we waved to her across the very same street, and, her wave back, once exuberant and sure, suddenly timid and hesitant, uncertain.

In the years since her decline, her husband has faithfully walked over and kept us updated on her condition. He says she is far removed from the woman he’s been married to for six decades. She is easily angered. She curses frequently, something she had never done before. And she doesn’t always know who’s who. We can see it in his eyes—the weariness, the sadness, the wishful thinking, the lost dreams.

Their only daughter, now with children of her own, appears often, sometimes staying all weekend. She and her father are her mother’s caregivers, her light in dark places, her shelter from the storm, her everything.

Occasionally, a grandson drives up in a loud diesel truck and carries his grandfather to places unknown. Upon their return, they stand in the street and toss around laughs and conversation. I watch them through the window and feel an ache rise up in my throat.

Some mornings I open the front door and see her across the street, her tiny frame stooped over a broom, sweeping one stretch of the driveway as if her life depended on it. She looks up and sees me. I wave, but she doesn’t wave back, the light of recollection no longer there.

I remember the words in James 4:14: "You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? It is a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." 

Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. Sunrise. Sunset. From the moment we are born, life moves in a steady succession of goodbyes. We can’t know what tomorrow holds. We can only embrace today, trusting the One who holds all of our days in His hands.

On this quiet evening in January, these have been my thoughts. Despite their melancholic tone, there is sweet relief in writing them down.


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.


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