Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Decor 2013

It is Christmas inside and outside at Four Sisters Farm.  I LOVE the season and I LOVE the reason for the season!

Last Christmas season I had an idea for a faux fireplace with a mantle to hang our stockings from...I even went so far as to frame out a center and purchase some wood but then ran out of time.  I got back to it this year and Pop helped is what we came up with.  It comes apart so we can store it easily for next year.

It looks even better with all the stockings hung! There are names embroidered on them but since we don't use real names on the blog, I know you understand.

As I decorate, I think about what fun we will have when we are gathered together...cousins playing...snuggling babies...yummy food and treats...stories shared...grown-up conversations shared by our kids after the children are settled into bed...the love and grace that we share for and with each other holds it all together in a small space with a lot of noise.  It's good stuff.  We will share some pictures from our time together in a few days so stay tuned!
Before decorating
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care (even if it is pretend).  
An old nativity scene that my Mom no longer needed and passed along to me
 is front and center with a gift tag that says, "To: Mankind  Love, God". 
Salt dough "cookies" made by our Superheroes are festive on a red plate;
and a clever cardboard "tree" by Bubba makes a rustic statement all its own.
A book about Jesus' birth recorded by my Dad and Mom is handy to pull down and "read" to the kids.
Garland, lights, and ribbon dress up the front door!
Crates I made hold lights, greenery, pine cones, and such.
Those cinnamon pine cones smell SO good!
A giant wreath is a must on the front porch.
Here we are all lighted is all on a timer.
Driving up to a lighted house makes me really happy.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Hedge Apple Harvest

We had a bumper crop of hedge apples this year!  The ONE hedge tree in our yard produced somewhere in the vicinity of 3,000 hedge apples!  Hooray!  We have proven that we can grow something at Four Sisters Farm that has little use and causes much annoyance!  The grandkids couldn't even walk across that part of the yard without falling down!
Oh well.  I am so very thankful for a pickup stick my dad gave me.  It saved my back and my hands.  And I had some time to think about possible fall games for families involving this yearly falling of the hedge apples...hedge apple crochet, hedge apple relays, contests for picking up the most in an allotted time, hedge apple throwing contests, and much more!
As I was picking up all those pesky, gooey, near-soft-ball-size fruits, it did get me to thinking...

What in the world did God make these things for anyway???

According to, they are not poisonous but have been known to choke livestock to death. I would think this is not the best thing about hedge apples; but then again...I'm still pondering!  If I understand correctly, the Osage Indians used to make sturdy bows that were very valuable back in the day...hence another name for this tree: "Osage Orange."  The Osage Orange is a cousin to the mulberry tree; which ironically also grows well here at Four Sisters Farm!  Another common name for the tree is "bodark" from a french word (d'arc) that means "bow wood."  

Another goodie I gleaned from my research is that the tree produces a bright yellow dye that can be extracted from the wood...maybe someone should replace the FDA approved yellow food dyes with it!

At least the wood is hard, long-lasting, and burns hotter than any other wood...that's what we do with it...burn it!  But really, the wood is still valued today...Pop has a nephew who makes a living harvesting the trees and installing fence rows and I've read about folks who make instruments from hedge wood.

Hmmm...maybe I should be planting these hideous balls and growing a hedge tree plantation??  I can't see Pop going for that but I'll ask him.  Stay tuned.  Hee hee.

In the meantime, there are still some hedge apples holding onto the tree...I'll get them all yet!

Monday, November 18, 2013

DIY Porch Pumpkins

If you've been reading at Four Sisters Farms for a while, you might recall one of my adventures involving wind turbines on our roof.

I like to save things and repurpose them and the turbines that had to be replaced sort of stacked up to three in a fairly short time.  I prefer to do things in fours at Four Sisters Farm but it seemed fitting to go ahead and repurpose those three turbines for our annual family fall party since DW's family wouldn't be here (sniff, I'm still sad about that).

So here is what I did...

I took the insides out of the turbine...carefully...I used some power tools in the process.

Pop probably would have come up with better ways or since he is a lot stronger than I am he may have just pulled them apart.

Anyway, once they they were disassembled, I spray painted them lightly with orange spray paint.  I wanted them to be a bit rustic, not all shiny and new looking!  Then I attached pieces of a small branch to the top and added some silk greenery.  I also built some crates from old, unused bed slats to display them on.  They make me happy.

Now I need one more to come off the roof so I can make the fourth one for when DW and family are back for fall party again!!

Blow wind, blow!

Friday, November 1, 2013

What Does Adoption Really Mean?

Word definitions fascinate me and when I am curious about a word or topic, I often go to a dictionary to clarify my thoughts.  

Adoption has been on my mind and in my heart because Farm Chick and EJ have now successfully adopted twice (See Farm Chick's posts here: Blessed is Me and Happy Adoption Day).  They were set to adopt one other time when the birth mom chose to parent her precious little one.  (You can read about Baby C here if you like.)

I went to the dictionary as I thought about this post and found the definition of adopt:  to bring a person into a specific relationship, especially to take another's child as one's own child.

As we witnessed Baby D's adoption finalization recently, EJ was called to the stand and asked questions by the lawyer representing them to the judge.  The questions and answers are recorded in court records and help the judge to discern whether or not the adoption should be granted.  One of the questions stands out now in my mind and I paraphrase:  

Do you understand that if this adoption is granted, this child will be entitled to all the rights and privileges of your biological children?

The question might seem strange if you are not familiar with the process of adoption; but the court must clarify that the decision to adopt is a HUGE decision.  

In a perfect world, relationships would last forever once they begin and no one would suddenly decide to stop loving and giving.  I am forever grateful that God has adopted His children forever and that He never changes His mind about us.  

Ephesians 1:3-8 says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will,  to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us."  And then verses 11-12, "In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory."

Enjoy a few pictures of Baby D's adoption finalization...he is now ours!

Aunt DW meets Baby D for the first time!
She surprised the family by driving from Indiana to Kansas to celebrate with us!
Sweet Baby D hears from his mommy how things are going to go.
An honorary Auntie has been added for Baby D.
She is also known as Pop's and Grammy's niece and cousin to the four sisters.
Pop and Grammy celebrated Baby D's adoption finalization...he is our 14th grandbaby!!
The Growing Table family as of now - they look so handsome and beautiful!
In February 2014, they are expecting their sixth child...
he is hiding in Farm Chick's tummy until then.  Good stuff.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sweet Baby...

Pop and I had the privilege of going to the hospital to meet our fourteenth grandchild recently.  You would think that after thirteen grandchildren we wouldn't be nervous...but we were.  You see, the mother of this precious baby is not our daughter.  Hope had made a decision to give her baby a life she could not provide.  She chose our daughter, Farm Chick and son-in-law, EJ to be the parents of her sweet little boy.  So when Farm Chick called to say that papers had been signed and to ask if we were ready to meet our grandson, we were excited...but nervous.  I tried to lighten the mood by joking about "Pop Bear" driving (with Pop covering his eyes) and texted pictures to EJ and Farm Chick to share the levity.

We had already met Hope but when we saw her this time we would meet her family.  It was becoming real.  We talked as we drove and pondered what emotions we might expect.

When we arrived, we spoke briefly with Farm Chick and EJ (and Pop's niece who just "happens" to work at that hospital); then we went to Hope's room.  The room was dark and was furnished with a queen size bed and our new little grandson was snuggled in with his birth mother and grandmother.  They greeted us as Farm Chick introduced us to Hope's mother.  I could hardly breathe.  I was so happy and excited to meet our grandson, but so aware of the great pain Hope and her mother must be feeling.

Hope handed her precious bundle to Pop and we fell in love all over again.

We thanked Hope for this precious gift but words failed us.  How can you possibly thank someone enough for carrying our grandson for nine months and enduring labor and birthing him?  How can words be anywhere near adequate to tell her how grateful we are?

We met more of Hope's family and they were very pleasant to us...very gracious.  We will see Hope and her family again soon.  I know they will be pleased at how this sweet baby boy is growing and how much he is loved by The Growing Table family and their extended family.

I know that God planned it all and carefully orchestrated the whole thing.  I have no doubt that He will lovingly provide Hope with what she needs to heal.  Because EJ and Farm Chick have chosen to have an open adoption, Hope will not have to wonder how her baby is doing...she simply has to text or call to find assurance that he is where he belongs.  His siblings just can't get enough of him and can't pass by him without kissing his sweet little face.

I am struck once again of how much God loves His adopted children and I am grateful to be one.  Thank You, Father, for illustrating Your great love in our lives.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

He is Real...

And he is adorable!  Introducing the newest Four Sisters Farm family member.  Here is the latest post from Farm Chick at the very busy Growing Table...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Birthday Blessings

EJ planned a birthday blessing for me (Farm Chick).  Instead of a typical birthday party he asked everyone to bring something to share that would encourage me.  It was a precious time and I was indeed blessed!

I wanted to write down all the scriptures that were read so that I could remember them. 

Grammy shared Psalm 112
Praise the Lord.[bBlessed are those who fear the Lordwho find great delight in his commands.
Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever.
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.
Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor, their righteousness endures forever;
    their horn[c] will be lifted high in honor. 
10 The wicked will see and be vexed, they will gnash their teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

Pop shared Colossians 3:12-14

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

My mother-in-law shared Ephesians 1:1-14

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To God’s holy people in Ephesus,[a] the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

My Father in Law shared Proverbs 31:10-31

10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

EJ shared Psalm 62:5-8

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God[c]he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
My sweet family spent time in prayer over me.  What an honor!
(photos by Romeo...thanks so much for capturing this)
In case you think we are all too serious around here take a look at this poem brought to you by my sisters.  I laughed, I cried.  Thank you sisters!  This poem is precious to me.

My Birthday Poem
by DW, Rock Star and Pretty Princess

To our dear, sweet sister whom is much older than us,
We know you don’t need a big party or fuss!
But today we celebrate you and your life
A sister, a daughter, a mama, a wife!

There are too many amazing things about you to list,
But let’s name a few that can not be missed.
Your cooking is tasty, you feed us all so well,
Even a real Italian mama would think you are swell.
You always bring me coffees when we meet for a date,
Which is good cuz you owe me for often being late.
I think it’s your flip flops that cause this delay,
It may be time for new running shoes I’d say.

I shop for your wardrobe and keep you so hip,
You be lookin’ so fly you make your homeboy trip!
Your house is decked out in teal blue and some red,
You even sleep in a custom made DIVA bed.
You have an old sweater, all gnarled and such.
Dad bought it for you in college and you love it so much.
The fate of this garment is sad, but so true.
One day I will break in and steal it from you.

You’re a wee bit crunchy granola, you know it’s true.
With your raw milk formula, and healing broth soup.
You’ve sprayed off much poo from your stinky cloth nappy
And you’ve nursed your sweet babies till they’re full and happy.
Speaking of all things organic and clean,
You once bought me pure deodorant, you know which one I mean.
It happened to be men’s but how could you know?!
The brand name was Jason, but what does that show?

You tell your life story to the Target cashier,
A restraining order may be coming for you I fear.
But what do they expect when they ask, “Ma'am, How’s your day?”
Right now that’s a loaded question filled with so much to say!
I love our couch dates filled with rest for the weary,
Good conversations and laughter keep me from being teary!
Our kids are best buddies and that is so cool.
We kind of have a gang, but we call it homeschool.
You love the Olive Garden for reasons easy to see.
You simply want live there and drink peach iced tea!
The breadsticks are delicious but smothered in gluten,
So for now that tasty goodness be getting’the bootin’.

I polish your pigs and your fingernails too.
We talk about babies, pinterest, funnies and poo.
I finish the color, top coat and the rest.
I start the massage, but not the feet, it’s for the best.
All silliness aside, my sister, we adore who you are.
Your heart is like no other, your love reaches far.
Your life and your family speaks of God’s very heart.
To be His hands and feet is a lovely work of art.

These coming babies will bring much joy and some stress,
But rest assured your sisters will come fix any mess!
We will come to your rescue, we’ll clean and we’ll cook.
We’ll discuss every baby topic in the book!
We can’t leave out a word or two from your big sis,
She’s too far away, but this she would not miss!

She wants to bring up your abnormal fear of hair,
We’d discuss it more, but that’d  just be unfair.
She thinks it’s awesome that you make your kids all matchy,
And your ability to mess up song lyrics is so catchy.
She remembers you moving heaven and earth
To see your little niece, Lou Lou after her birth.
She also wants you to know that she thinks that you rock,
You were willing to take a whoopin’ over that infamous sock.

She wants you to know she misses you a ton,
And there’s no one that compares to you, not a single one.
So, enjoy this day meant to lift you up and assure you-
We will pray for courage, for wisdom all the way through!
We will hold sweet babies, we will do anything you need.
What a sight to see this precious family growing like a weed!
Happy birthday to you, our sister our friend!
We got your back all the way to the end!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Grammy's Family Reunion 2013

Grammy and siblings (1965)
My family recently gathered at my folks for a family reunion.  My siblings were all home!  From a seven month old to a 77 year old, we had 42 of our 60 some possible family members.  We had family from four states.  We flew in, drove in, and pulled campers to our old home town.

7 month old beauty and her mommy
Our home town is very small, so places to book a room overnight are few and the house we grew up in won't hold everyone...even for a we rented a church hall, brought in food, pitched in and put meals together and had a blast.

We visited, played, ate, and visited some more.  The young ones got to meet people they'd never met or didn't remember meeting, so it was like meeting them again.  The generation above them got reacquainted with their cousins and spouses.  My siblings and I yakked and helped wrangle all the little ones when we could.

I would say it was a typical family reunion...mostly...but as I watched our family interacting, I noticed some things...things that people can choose to do but often choose not to...I noticed things that are evidence of love and of grace.

I heard about and witnessed my dad, mom, and sister prepare things days ahead.

I saw my sis put in hours to complete a slide show so all the family could celebrate my baby brother's and sis-in-law's 25th wedding anniversary.

I enjoyed seeing my oldest brother and his wife (who came the farthest distance) roam around to be sure they had a chance to visit with each family member.

I watched my brother and sister-in-law serve up plates for their grandchildren to lend their daughter a hand.

I remembered how hard and tiring it can be to have small children as I saw the parents of young children haul in all the paraphernalia required to spend time away from home and manage their broods through days that kept them far off their preferred schedules.  I know the older generation appreciates them making the effort to come together.

I smiled as I noticed my grand niece helped her momma with her younger siblings...even when she wasn't being asked or required to help...I suspect she simply does what she sees her Mom and Nana do.

I saw one of my sons-in-law bring his big boys to play in the sprinkler at the homestead instead of golfing with the guys so our pregnant daughter and their two younger children could nap.

I was blessed to see my nephew and his girlfriend tirelessly cook and prepare food because they love to do it and love to see others enjoy the product of their labors.  Of course, they had one wanted them to do it I also witnessed others pitch in...and visit and laugh while they did.
My heart swelled to watch my dad love on the kiddos and help them fill their water balloons...he loves his family and that blesses each of us.

I was thankful to see another son-in-law snap pics so we'd have some memories preserved and was grateful to our daughter for leting him do his thing as she visited with family and managed their little one.

I was tickled to see cousins enjoy cousins...from play time for the younger cousins to the "man cousins" golfing and just spending time visiting.

I saw my mom choose to sit down to a meal at a table with her brood of great grandchildren.  I know she is proud of them and loves them all.

Many hands made light work as all available hands helped pack up the food and clean up.  I was grateful to see my brothers and hubby vacuum the big room and everyone make sure we left things better than we found them.  I watched (yes watched) as my husband mopped the floor of the kitchen and beyond (I love that man more and more).

On the porch of the old homestead: Mom and Dad
and all their kids and kids by marriage.
We are blessed!
We are not all in this pic but we had to try for a big group shot!
Maybe we'll do better next time!
I cherish the time we get to spend together and miss this family.  We are already looking forward to the next big reunion.  Until then, I will remember this is good stuff.

Monday, August 26, 2013

In Case You Missed It...

Check out Farm Chick's latest post at The Growing Table...

Friday, August 9, 2013

Disney Ears

Pop and I have never had going to Disney World (or Land) on our radar.  At the risk of offending any Disney Doers, it just seemed like a lot of hype to me.  Don't get me wrong, over the years I've loved the movies, cartoons, etc. but I've just never been one to sell out to commercialism.  That said, we DID go to Disney World this summer...Florida...mid Farm Chick's and EJ's request as he had earned a family trip through his work.  We try never to pass up an opportunity to spend time with our course we went...what grandparent in their right mind would pass up time with their grandchildren that would be financed by their children??? brainer...we began making plans to go to the "Happiest Place on Earth."

Farm Chick had prayed fervently that God would grant us favor with the weather.  God heard her prayer and the weather was miraculously nice for July.  Farm Chick had done some very thorough research and set up everything prior to our trip.  She had groceries delivered to our resort hotel suite, had EJ download an app designed to optimize our park plans, and delighted her matching kid clothing heart with new matching outfits for her kiddos.  We grownups also tried to follow the color scheme so there would be no doubt that we all belonged together.  EJ and Farm Chick were an awesome team getting us around the parks.  We rode buses, boats, and the monorail...we pushed and parked strollers repeatedly.  We had a delightful time with three energetic boys and a sweet toddling girl.

I do have to tattle on Farm Chick even though she may blog about it she was struggling to get Q to cooperate about some picture taking, she made Pop and I laugh SO hard.  You see, Q has a habit of putting things into his mouth (as many three year olds do) and he had put some teeth marks on one ear of his Mickey Mouse hat.  She actually said to him in a pretty stern voice, "Put on your chewed up ears and zip it!"  Pop gave her the "Quote of the Trip Award" and we will probably bring it up for years.

I will have sweet memories of the trip...but not because of the location.  The best memories consist of:
  • seeing a sensitive six year old big brother hold hands with his baby sister as he walked alongside her stroller...just because she insisted.
  • watching Pop gently snuggle a sleeping baby while he ate his lunch after a busy morning at the Magic Kingdom.
  • listening to rain outside and sneaking peeks at a tired but happy seven year old resting so we could go do some secret agent spy stuff later in the day and seeing him fall asleep even though he is too big for naps.  How do they grow so quickly?
  • smelling the sweet scent of strawberries from breakfast still on little hands clutching a bottle...sleepy eyes...going down for a morning nap.
  • marveling over the long, dark eyelashes of a sweet three year old grasping his teddy and lamby as he fell asleep on his second ever airplane ride after a very early start to the first day of vacation.
  • witnessing EJ and Farm Chick working as a team to ensure their kiddos having a wonderful time with happy memories.
Good stuff.  It seems to me that wherever Pop and I are with our children and grandchildren, we are at the happiest place on earth.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Time Well Spent

Moms do not like for their children to be ill, or to feel poorly, or be sad.  I'm no exception.  Even now with my children grown and caring for their own children, I don't like for them to be down.

Rock Star recently had to have surgery (she may blog about that some day) and I got to help out with the kiddos.  Pop was working so he didn't get to play as much as I did and we missed him. He stopped by when he could and was always warmly (and loudly) welcomed.

One of the worst things for Rock Star was being restricted...she couldn't lift her smallest superhero and he wanted so much for her to pick him up...check out this precious lil guy...he has mad climbing skills so when his momma would sit down, he'd climb up and snuggle up next to her.  It is so hard when they are too little to understand.

We made the most of the time we had and the days went quickly.  PhoJo is a one-of-a-kind superhero dad...When he wasn't working, he was working at home taking care of things...we tag-teamed the kiddos, did laundry, and made meals.  Even though Rock Star needed to rest and recover, she thought of things to do with the kids.  Check out our play dough fun...What a kick!

We built Trio block buildings and bridges.

We watched some fun shows.

We made a birthday card for Nana (Grammy's Mom...not Daddy's Mom).  Making cards was fun but taking a picture of all the kids with their cards was painful for the littlest guy.  By the time Rock Star gave up, he was still crying and the big brothers and sister were bored.  

We played in the water.

We even took down a dead tree in the front yard with our bare hands - with permission, of course!!  

On one of Pop's visits, he had a serious conversation with the smallest superhero about the pros and cons of playing with the electrical outlet.  Ha!

Of course, the sisters (except the currently Indiana sister) came over to visit and cheer up Rock Star and the cousins had some stellar play time and shared a meal.

Rock Star is recovering nicely and hasn't needed our help to run her household for a while now and I never want my children down...but...spending time with our grandchildren is always time well spent.  I'm grateful I am here and available.  God is good!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

In Memory and In Honor

In memory of a woman - a wife, mother, grandmother, community leader...and in honor of her daughter.

Our home town recently laid to rest a woman.  Pop and I traveled home to witness her memorial.  Her life and accomplishments alone merited our attention but, honestly, we went because of our connection with her daughter.  Pop is honored to work with her and I an honored just to be associated with her.  She is a woman of grace, beauty, and eloquence.

Pop with our friend
We share common stories and people from our raising.  We are knitted together forever simply because we come from the same place.  Her younger brother was Pop's age.  They were friends by kindergarten and remained friends, classmates, and teammates through high school.  He was taken from this earth all too soon when he was struck  by a car while he riding his bike.  His family, our home town, and a host of friends grieved his death.  Like his older sister (and all their siblings, I suspect), he was very bright and had much to offer this world.

As adults, we have come to know this precious woman and Pop and I have come to deeply respect and love her.  Attending the memorial for her mother made me love her all the more.  She spoke with poise, bolstered by the love of family and community.  The beautiful little church was was fitting.  She warmly welcomed everyone there and recognized the staff members of the medical community who had cared for her mother toward the end of her life.  She was the epitome of grace.

After she spoke, her next duty was to play a piano piece that was one of her mother's favorites...Clair de Lune.  I imagined a proud and pleased mother watching as her daughter's fingers deftly covered the piano keys to bring forth the serene melody.  Of course, her siblings, nieces and nephews (whom she speaks of often in conversations with Pop and me) had roles to play as well but her place was at the piano for most of the service.  She accompanied a soloist (also from our home town) during a beautiful rendition of The Lord's Prayer and also accompanied the home town chorale was during that piece that her music went flying off the piano and as she recovered the music she used the mishap to infuse humor into the situation...once again, grace prevailed.  There was no feeling sorry for her or wondering if she could go on.  Instead, she gave us freedom to laugh and in doing so gave herself freedom to pick up where she left off.  What an incredible woman!  Few could offer that kind of tribute to their parent as they grieved at their passing.

After the service, the family had arranged for cookies and cold drinks in the basement of the church and as folks mingled, I sensed that there was a reunion of sorts happening.  Pop and I sought our our friend and waited as she spoke with other people.  I'm convinced she sees the wonderful things in Pop that I see and she often expresses her appreciation for him when we are together.  She shines.  She glows.  She loves.  When she turned to us, she embraced Pop and cried.  I suspect she had been busy with preparations for the day and had not allowed herself much time for emotion.  I drew near and was welcomed into the embrace as she composed herself.  I will long remember that moment and I understand that she knows Pop is a safe place for emotion.  He understands and doesn't judge.

I teased Pop later that a lot of women seem to cry when they see him.  He protested a bit but knows I'm right.  He can't hide that soft side of his heart from folks...especially folks who look deep into his character and are privileged to be loved by him.  Raising four daughters has developed a softness in him that gives certain people (myself included) a safe place to fall apart and a solid place to stand up again.  I can be strong and brave in the face of catastrophe...until I see Pop...he reads my heart somehow and releases emotions I am sometimes not yet even aware of.  I hope that never changes in my lifetime.  It's good stuff.