Sunday, October 31, 2010

It was a BOOooootiful Birthday Celebration

     Little's One's Birthday Pumpkin Patch was open for business yesterday afternoon. Spiderman, Superman, a Christmas Tree, a Cheerleader, Spiderman's Grandmother, the Football Player, and Waldo all made an appearance along with a few more characters, some of whom just came as themselves . But the indisputable queen for the day was none other the Flower Child. She stole the show. And I think you will have to agree.

The Daughter and Son-in-Law were there to referee the event which was loads of fun!
Some of the characters needed refereeing more than others!
The Daughter putting the finishing touches on the table decor.

Pumpkin decorating station
A very special Christmas Tree!
I am liking all of this attention!

I'm still not sure about this..
Uh oh, I made a mess!
It's always nice to have a few superheroes hanging around
Having the two Great-Grandfathers there was a reason to count our many blessings,
                                                                  All photos save one courtesy of YaYa                                        

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Shameless Promotion

    I love my friends and when they do something wonderful, I want to be the first to tell everyone about it. I am a bit like the annoying rooster in the barnyard who always thinks he has something to crow about, but this time I really do.

My dear friend, Lisa Patton, has written a peach of a book that has recently come out in paperback. I love the luxury of buying books in hardback, but truth be told, I usually wait until the the paperback version is available. Lisa's book is also the featured fall paperback at Target, which means that it is readily available to a whole lot of folks who never seem to make it to a bookstore. Pick one up, or two or three and give them as  gifts this Christmas. Your friends will love you for it! This is a delightful read about a born and bred Southerner who learns what she is made of while running an inn in Vermont. LeeLee, the protagonist is a steel magnolia of the finest order. You will laugh, you will cry. Guaranteed. And doesn't the cover alone just makes you want to pick it up and take it home? You won't be disappointed! Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'Easter...Enjoy! Oh, and look for her sequel to this delightful story -- it'll be coming out in May.

Oops, don't know who to credit w/this photo        

   This man has seen me at my worst. No kidding. That's what happens when you have been friends for 30 years and were neighbors for 10 of them. He is one of the most consistently kind, godly, and wise men I know. Our families are intertwined. Since I don't have immediate family in this city, he and his wife are my family. I love them. I read this book, Bond of Brothers, (which is specifically written for men, but certainly blessed me as a woman), and I boo-hooed almost the whole way through it, because I have seen this man live this book. My husband is in the book. My friends are in the book. But's that's not why I want you to read it. It's an important book. An immensely important book in a culture where men really do struggle to connect deeply with other men beyond work, weather, and sports. It's okay to use those things as long as they serve as the doorway to something deeper, something more valuable, something that allows men the freedom to show their souls to one another.
Wes Yoder isn't the least bit interested in starting a men's movement, but I think he just might. He is really on to something here...something that has already been proven true in his own life.
Wes Yoder
Photo by: Heidi Ross   

Wes Yoder     Raised on a dairy farm in the Amish and Mennonite community of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Wes Yoder moved to Nashville in 1973 to work in the music business where he launched the careers of many well-known artists. His projects have included media representation of The Purpose Driven Life and The Shack, and media and literary representation of the #1 New York Times best seller, Mistaken Identity. He has appeared on NBC Nightly News, ABC’s Prime Time, Dateline NBC, CNN Headline News and others. Wes and his wife, Linda, live in Franklin, Tennessee, and have two children and two grandchildren.
Author Website:

Check out our friend Wes Yoder for yourself. He will be appearing on the Today show on Friday, November 12, to talk about his book. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

TRADITION, tradition, Tradition....

    My family loves traditions and we can even get a bit obsessive about them, as do many folks. Example: How many families eat the exact same foods for Thanksgiving or Easter or Christmas year after year after year after year -- and if anyone alters the menu or a modifies a particular recipe, someone else invariably makes an unflattering comment. I guess that means we are creatures of habit -- either that or we are stuck in some pretty deep ruts.

A Few Traditions that Work For Us
1. Tradition Number One:
One of our favorite family traditions has always involved The Mom's birthday. I think early on my husband despaired about what to do with the kids when my birthday rolled around each February. Make a cake? Never. Even after thirty-six years of marriage, he can only manage to rustle up about 5-6 things in the kitchen and two of them are hot dogs and scrambled eggs. So cooking was out, but somewhere along the line, good man that he is, he came up with the idea of buying a frozen yogurt cake (white chocolate mousse, yes, thank you ma'am) and serving it to our family for BREAKFAST. Viola, The Mom's birthday suddenly was elevated to star status. You can imagine the brownie points my kids earned when they went to school every year and told their friends that their mom's birthday was the one time of the year that they got to eat CAKE and ICE CREAM for BREAKFAST. Through the years many of their friends even asked me if this were really true. Keep in mind that at that point in time I was a recovering hippie who was trying not to feed my children too many refined and processed foods.  The dear man even continued the tradition the first year or two after child number four went to college, but it just wasn't the same, and besides my burgeoning hips didn't and still don't need any more encouragement at this point than they already have.
2. In light of our aforementioned family tradition, Little One and The Daughter and Son-in-law arose early on the morning of Little One's first birthday and took her to the iconic Pancake Pantry here in Nashvegas for chocolate-chip pancakes. Now mind you, the child has had only
one teeny tiny bit of chocolate and absolutely no refined sugar in the entire first year of her life. Also keep in mind that she is child number ONE, and my observation is that parents have a lot more control, a lot of good intentions, and many more health-conscious rules with child number ONE. Things tend to loosen up the more kids you have. Can you imagine how Little One responded to this culinary delight? You are right. She went crazy. And she made quite a spectacle of herself with her wild hair, jammies, and chocolate covered face. I think it will be a tradition that will be embraced. Oh and next year I am going to teach her to beg for some butter and syrup, too!

3. Thirteen presents when you turn thirteen!
This may sound a bit extravagant, but trust me it is not. I had friends who always gave their children the number of presents to correspond to their number of years, but I never had the money to even contemplate such a thing. However, The Dad and I both felt that the thirteenth birthday was a rite of passage in the life of a child that somehow needed to be marked with something special. So, as each of our children approached this birthday, I began to scour the dollar stores and my favorite little cheap shops for some special, but every inexpensive treats. The first gift was always a "millionaire candybar" and would have directions included on how to find the next gift. Sometimes (we did this routine four times as we had four children) the gifts were arranged around a theme (one of ours was into camping at the time) and other children just received an odd assemblage of inexpensive treats. The best present of course was always the last, and would be something that the child could get excited about (we always gave them a financial limit as to what we would be willing to spend, and they had to give us several options which we sometimes still ignored). The gifts were hidden throughout the house and clues to the next gift were always included inside the previous gift. Part of the reason we developed this tradition is that by the time we got to the 13th birthday I was usually pooped out on parties. The good thing is that this naturally became a big family celebration, and the searching for treasure component of this tradition always made it fun for everyone!
                                                                                   All photos are courtesy of Fotosearch

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teach Us to Number Our Days

     I am requesting the right to be a bit more sentimental than usual today (okay so I am 
downright maudlin). But I have good reason. Little One turns one today and Little Two is 
scheduled to make her appearance within the next three weeks. So I have been thinking all 
day about seeing the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living and how I feel so 
remarkably blessed. My cup runneth over indeed.

     My friend Marty Goetz has a beautiful song on his latest album. I couldn't say it better if I tried. 
In every generation
Day out and day in, Your love, Your grace, 
Sustains every living thing
But like the grass, these creatures You’ve made 
We grow soon to wither and fade
Then You’ll say, “Return, O children of men.” 
So help us learn this lesson ‘til then…

Teach us to number our days 
That we may gain a heart of wisdom
Teach us to number our days
To be glad to rejoice in them 

O how we love this time this place 
But it’s not our destination
We struggle we strive to run this race 
With all of the strength we can bring 
Then in what is but the blink of an eye 
We finish our years like a sigh
So help us now, Lord show us how 
We can redeem days that pass like a dream

And teach us to number our days 
That we may gain a heart of wisdom
Teach us to number our days
To be glad to rejoice in them 
For a thousand years in your sight 
Is merely a watch in the night
So before they all fly away
Teach us to number our days

We’re given to pride so unsatisfied 
Still You provide such mercy
In light of our sin, how can we begin 
To thank You for placing Your beauty within

Teach us to number our days
That we may gain a heart of wisdom
Teach us to number our days
To be glad to rejoice in them
For a thousand years in your sight 
Is merely a watch in the night
So before they all fly away
Teach us to number our days

Yes, before we all fly away
Teach us to number our days
This is My Prayer for Little One on her First Birthday: 
Little One, I pray that you will one day look back on your life and say of the Lord, 
"There was never a time that I did not know your presence, 
your goodness, and your grace." 
I pray also that your inner beauty will always exceed your outer beauty and 
that you will grow in wisdom and knowledge and understanding of the Lord 
all of the days he has marked out for you. 
I pray as well that you will know very soon how great is the love 
the Heavenly Father has for you,  
and that you will trust Him more every day that passes.
I pray that whatever your circumstances you will know that the Lord
will never forsake you and that you are His, bought and paid for with a price.
Lastly, I pray that despite what the world teaches, Little One, you will find your
 true comfort, your security, your purpose, and your lasting peace in knowing 
the Mighty One who knit you together in your mother's womb. 
For indeed you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I earnestly pray and ask these things in the name of Jesus, my Savior. 

                                                 All photos are courtesy of the Good Neighbor, Marjie Aldom Smith

Monday, October 25, 2010

Well I Declare

      I just get tickled pink thinking about her. In case you haven't noticed, Little One is the bee's knees, the cat's meow, and the cutest little darling ever born in this grandmother's book. She turns one tomorrow, and we will be celebrating this weekend at The Daughter's house. Little One has no clue about all of the fun that awaits her!
Sittin' pretty in the pumpkin patch


A perfect size for a stool!
Getting ready . . .
To try some heavy lifting!
A perfect ending to Honey's day with Little One!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Grace, Grace and More Grace.

Wishful thinking at my house

    Consistency with daily tasks is not one of my better traits. I will leave the unfolded laundry on the kitchen table until I can no longer see most of the surface before I will get around to dealing with it; I hate hanging up clothes I have just taken off so I end up piling them up in a chair where they eventually collect dust and the ever-present dog-hair; and I avoid the grocery store like the plague. Yet I have somehow managed to function as a daughter, woman, wife, mother, grandmother, college counselor, friend, sister, and domestic goddess (insert a smile here, this is supposed to be funny) for one reason and only one: the grace of God. You might think as I once did that the grace of God is reserved for the hard things one encounters in life or as a covering for the sin that so easily besets us; but I have come to believe something very different: the grace of God is at once for everything and for all of life: the mundane as well as the sacramental; the boring as well as the glorious, and the burdensome along with the transcendent.  I don't know about you, but I have just as great a need for the everyday circumstances of my life to be bathed in grace as I do the struggles that seem destined to impact my soul.
   A while back I encountered this tiny little verse that probably comes close to rivaling the ubiquitous "Jesus wept" as one of the all time shortest verses in the Bible, but despite its brevity, it has had a profound and lasting effect upon me and the way that I view my life. It is also found in one of the books of the New Testament that I have continually struggled for many years to understand and apprehend, the Book of James. I offer these words up to you today as a gift. A gift that I want to share. I also want to challenge you to meditate upon these six little words, this logos from the heart of God to you and to me to see if they will not change your perspective on living as much as they have altered mine. Without further ado, here they are:
     "But He gives us more grace..."James 4:6a
   Think about it. Never less. ALWAYS MORE. ALWAYS MORE. I cried the first time I comprehended these words. I had seen the words before, even read them before, but for some reason they were never able to get through the grey matter to traverse the distance to my heart; they seemingly never traveled that mysterious and incalculable distance to my soul. Yet somehow they did. And for that I am so very thankful this Sabbath day...that despite all that I am, he is all that He is and so it is that He gives us more grace. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Time Flies When You Are Having Fun

    Time flies by when you are having fun! This has been a busy month for  me (Little One) filled with lots of adventures. We started making the trek out to the 'burbs once a week which gives me the chance to spend time with my great-grandpa, and he is one special guy. Here he is taking me for a spin in his golf cart. It's the one place I don't have to get strapped into that straight-jacket car seat. I just wish my feet were long enough to press the pedal...I know that I could make this thing fly!
Hanging out with my great-grandfather...He's the boss!

Pa Poag thinks that I'm his "Lil Pumpkin!"

Having fun with some of my cousins
    I also get to go to playgroup once a week where my favorite activities are getting dirty and taking toys from my friends. Mommy is trying to teach me to pat-pat my friends and not to hit-hit. When I hit-hit she says, "No M'am" in her big girl voice and looks at me with her eyebrows all wrinkled up. I am not sure about this obeying thing. When Mommy isn't looking I have also added some interesting items to my basic food group: leaves, sticks, grass, and a bug or two.
Playgroup in the park...I am a ball hog (a family trait!)

This is a fascinating specimen....of a stick!
Woo Hoo...I am ELEVEN months old!
   I also turned eleven months old. When I started taking a few steps on my own right around that time, the family went bonkers. Everybody kept wanting me to do it over and over again and would clap their hands like I had done something amazing. I still don't get what the big deal is 'cause they all walk around all the time and nobody claps for them.

   In the picture below, I am modeling one of my new fall fashions. My very own GiGi made this little couture number just for me. I got to wear it to Mother's Day Out and everybody kept telling me how cute I looked. Don't I know it, but don't tell anyone else.
Shh...don't tell anybody my secrets!
   Oh well, gotta go get my beauty sleep. I have a big birthday coming up next week! Mommy is making me something called a "smash cake." Hope it's better than those sticks I have been eating in the park.  See you later alligator....or in a while croccodile!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sometimes Words Are Superfluous

From the rising of the sun

until its setting

The Name of the Lord

is to be praised!

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Life Can Be Hilarious!

   If you read my last post, you know that I have been grappling with a nasty stomach virus that simply will not let go of me. So today, after my third attempt to make it to the car, I finally succeeded in my quest to make it to the corner drugstore, which in my case, is a Walgreen's. While waiting for some prescriptions and to talk with a pharmacist about my recurring little problem that might require Depends, I talked with a very nicely dressed younger woman.
   As we did the woman-to-woman chit-chat thing, I discovered that her college alma mater was the same as two of my sons' (insert a War Eagle yell here) and our chit-chat world automatically expanded. I asked her what year she graduated, and she very apologetically told me that she was 44 years old and had finished college in the 1980's.  I proceeded to tell her that I was indeed much older than she and when I gave her my age as well as the age of my oldest child (32), she gasped and uttered the words, "I need to get the name of your doctor," I laughed hysterically. She said it again. I laughed again. "I need to get the name of your doctor." Can you believe it?!!! Me, of all people.
   And then I told her that I had been sick for three days, during which time I did not wash my face or use moisturizer one single time. I also know that God must have a very funny sense of humor. On my way to Walgreen's I was thinking how awful I looked. Bags under my eyes. Hooded crepey drapey flesh hanging over my eyes. Uneven, blotchy complexion accompanied by pores on my nose that look like the Grand Canyon to me...I could go on, but you must be getting the picture. Trust me when I say that I did not look good. But for some reason, this woman seemed to think I looked young and vibrant (I think she even used those words). I almost wet my pants every single time I think about it. So, all you girl friends out there, get ready, cause just in case you haven't noticed, I am looking good these days!
   Oh, and if you were wondering, my beauty (ha ha) routine involves a terry washcloth, whatever soap is in the shower (usually Dove), whatever cream I have stashed in my nightstand -- either something Aveda my momma has given me or L'Oreal from Walgreen's if I bought it myself,

finished off with a dash of Mentholatum on my lips 'cause I am addicted to the smell and can't go to sleep without it. My husband hates it all, so sometimes I just wash my face and go to bed and then sometimes I just go to bed. Mascara and leftover make-up and all. Do you get the drift that there is no beauty routine of any substance for me and absolutely no plans for any surgery, injections, laser treatments, etc.?
     However,  if I win the lottery, I might change my mind. Wait, I don't play the lottery. So that's not gonna happen either. Oh motto is, "Come grow old with me, the best is yet to be."