Thursday, July 31, 2008

What's On Your Nightstand?

What's On Your Nightstand I am two days late to do this fun monthly report - but I thought I would join in anyway and try to be on time next month! Click here if you would like to join in.
The idea is to take a picture of the books on your nightstand and give reviews about books you have recently read. So here is my nightstand:
The stack on the left is my to-be-read pile. The stack on the right are the ones I have currently finished. These include Love Begins With Elle, Searching For Eden, The Perfect Life, and A Chance to Die.

Love Begins With Elle written by Rachel Hauck was very enjoyable. Rachel Hauck writes with a young, contemporary voice and I really enjoyed the storyline of this book. I will definitly look for more books by her.

Searching for Eden is by one of my favorite authors, Linda Nichols. It contains drama, mystery, and romance - my favorites! If you haven't read her, you should because she is really excellent at character development and a strong storyline.

The Perfect Life is by Robin Lee Hatcher. It's the story of a woman who "has it all" and suddenly the perfect life she has always led - isn't so perfect at all when her husband is accused of having an affair. It's a very compelling story.

A Chance to Die by Elizabeth Elliott is the story of Amy Carmichael, missionary to India. This book stretched me. Amy's dedication to God and His plan for her life amazed me. What she was so willing to do and give up humbled me. She was an amazing woman with an amazing love for God and for His people. This is a woman who is a true hero of the faith. Sadly, I'm not sure many Christians really know about her or her story.

Alrighty then. Hopefully next month the pile of books on the left will be the pile of books on the right and I will have a whole NEW stack of books on the left. Now that thought sounds like a little bit of heaven to me.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Baby Feet

It's amazing how normal it feels to have a baby in the house again. It's been a long time since there have been diapers and wipes, bottles and buggies, onesies (the best baby thing ever invented) and blankets strewn all about the house. Even though little Tyler lives with his daddy and mama in their own house, he does come to visit Papa and Mia a lot and it is essential to have all these important things available.

Some things are different nowadays though. For instance when I was a young mama and the baby got a red bottom we used a strong smelling, white, thick cod liver paste called D*esiten to wipe all over the sore area. It was nearly impossible to wash off. I always hated when we had to use it. These days young mama's use a pleasant smelling, very fast-working and effective product called Butt Paste.
Seriously, that's it's official name.

Butt. Paste.

When my kids were little they were not even allowed to say that word. These days we casually say things like, "Honey, could you toss be that tube of Butt Paste please?" or "Have you seen where I put the Butt Paste?"

Oh the times. They are a changin'.

But one thing hasn't changed. And that's how adorable little baby feet are. My Tyler boy has the sweetest little feet and he loves having them held and tickled and rubbed. And I love playing with them, and kissing them, and holding them in my hands. They are just so precious.

But I imagine the times will be a changin' again. Because I'll bet when this sweet baby boy is about 12 years old and his feet are smelly and big and sweaty, I won't be going anywhere near them. And I won't touch his dirty socks with a 10 foot pole either.

So enjoy these foot rubbing, toe ticklin'days sweet boy. They won't last forever.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Potpourri Friday

A while back when I first discovered I was going to be a grandmother, I wrote a post about how I was pondering my "grandma name". I wanted something different and unique that would fit me. Grandma last- name sounded too formal, grandma first-name didn't sound right either. I liked Nana but it is too used.

After searching and trying names out I finally chose Mia. And I like it. It is short. It will be easy for the babies to say. And it just sounds special to me.
To my ear it sounds close to mama (my favorite name in the world). It's different but the same if you know what I'm trying to say.
My son-in-law wasn't sure about it until we found out that Mario of the video game world calls his grandma Mia. I think that helped him. :)

After writing my post back then I was really surprised at the strong feelings people have about grandma names. Some think grandma is the only name appropriate. Some thought my quest was ridiculous. Some folks thought I was being a bit too stupid concerned about it. I got a lot of opinion about it in real life too. But interesting enough, I have been amazed that the most popular google search that brings people to my blog is "grandma names". Just yesterday I had 11 searches that found my blog that way. It totally amazes me. In fact if you google "grandma names" you will find dozens of web pages about it. Here is just one of the fun articles. So apparently I am not the only grandma out there looking for that special name! I'm not sure that there isn't some kind of way to make some money off this. Maybe I should write a book about the whole topic!

And many thanks to all of you who shared your books suggestions for babies with me. I can't wait to go book shopping for Tyler and Ava Claire. You all shared such wonderful books and I have made a list to carry with me. One real life friend even brought me two pages of books including color pictures of the covers! You are all too good to me!

Speaking of books, the other day I wrote this post. I was totally surprised to find a comment from Nancy herself thanking me for my review of her books! My goodness. This blogging thing is really something! I have no idea how she found my blog.

Well wait a minute. Now that I think about it, maybe she was googling grandma names!

Anyway, if I had known she was going to read my review I would have spent much more time on it and tried to sound more savvy or something! But it sure made me feel special that a real-life published author would stop by and visit me. And I really do like those books. Thanks Nancy for stopping by!

This week, after a long break, I got back into my sewing room. And guess what? I started sewing pink! It might sound funny but sewing pink has an entirely different feeling than sewing blue. I have started Ava Claire's quilt that is actually the girl companion quilt to the one I made for Tyler.
Tyler's has sailboats and Ava Claire's will have flowers. I just feel so blessed to have a grandson and a soon-to-arrive granddaughter. People always told me "Just wait. It is the most incredible thing." And they were right it is. Like nothing else I have ever experienced. I can't wait till little Ava Claire gets here - I'm dying to see what she looks like!

This has been quite a week for me. My sweet dog Josey gave birth to five little puppies last weekend and one of them has been struggling. He just will not nurse. Josey kept taking him out of the box which is never a good sign. So my daughter Jess and I have been taking turns tube feeding him every three hours around the clock. I'm still worried about him. He is not losing weight but he isn't gaining anything either. His brothers and sister are double his size now. He stays at 3 1/2 ounces. So small. But he remains active. And as long as he is trying I will keep trying too. This is definitely the down side of breeding puppies. And after spending so much time and worry on the little guy, if he makes it, I have to sell him. It's hard not to get attached to the ones who fight so hard to live.

My husband is coming home today! He spent the week at Boy's Camp being the chaplain. The theme was The Wild West, so he took his horses up with him and for each sermon he included an object lesson that he shared about training horses. He called earlier this week and he was so excited because the boys are just loving it. In fact at the first chapel service he said about 3/4's of them responded to his altar call! He said he was just so surprised that in this technological world that there were so many kids still interested in outdoor things. Maybe the fact that they were up in the mountains with no tv's, iPods, or video games, helped them see that there is more to life than electronics.

This will be a short weekend for me as I have to work on Saturday. Bummer. But I will try to find the time to write a little, sew a little, and read a little.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's Never Too Soon to Read A Good Book

Sweet little Tyler had his first encounter with how hard life can be sometimes. He had to get his first series of vaccinations at his 2 month checkup. The poor sweet little guy was just being his adorable self, when he was rudely woken from his nap, disrobed of his clothes, laid on a hard table in a cold room and attacked by needles being shoved into his newly-chubby thighs. Mia (my grandma name) wasn't there but the story goes that Tyler cried, his mama cried, and his auntie cried. Mia is glad she wasn't there - because she would have cried too. Especially when after it was all over he looked over at his auntie and started crying all over again, with real tears, as he tried to convey to her how horrible the whole thing was. Never is his sweet, short little life had anything like this ever happened to him. Life was all about kisses and snuggles and lots of warm milk. He just didn't understand.

As the event was being told to me I couldn't help but feel anger rise up inside of me. How dare that mean doctor hurt my little guy like that? Oh I know it had to be done. It's for his good. We don't have to worry about those horrible diseases attacking him now. But really, how could a baby doctor, who is supposed to love little babies, do something so cruel? How could he smile at him one minute and jab him with a needle the next? As my daughter was relaying the story to me I was just couldn't help it that a part of my heart was just so mad at that doctor.

But then she told me something else that happened. As the doctor was examining the baby he was telling my daughter about all the things Tyler will be doing next. He talked to her about his development and how on target he is. He told her what a good job she was doing at nursing him. He talked to her about how babies bond with their mommies. And then he said,

"It's now time to start reading books to him."

The doctor immediately redeemed himself in my eyes. Just imagine - advocating reading at 2 months of age. Brilliant! What a wonderful doctor he is! I was so excited to hear that he said that!

Immediately we dug out some books and I read Goodnight Moon to him. And do you know that his bright little eyes tracked along as I turned the pages and he really seemed to enjoy the melodic sound of my voice as I read the rhyming words out loud to him.

It's been a long time since my girls were little and I need some new books at my house. So I want to know what books are your favorites for babies? For toddlers? For pre-school age? What are some of the newer books on the market that are "must-haves" for my grandbabies?

I can't wait to hear your recommendations.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Some Fun Summer Reading

This summer one of the books our Book Club read was The Sister Circle by Vonette Bright and Nancy Moser. I enjoyed it so much that I read the other three books that are part of the series. I was pleasantly surprised that I liked them so much.

They are the story of a lady, Evelyn, in her early 50's whose husband is unexpectedly killed. He leaves her pretty much penniless except for the big house they have lived in, a house that belonged to his family throughout generations. She decides that in order to make ends meet, she will rent out rooms to borders. This results in a true potpourri of personalities.

I liked these books because they are full of faith and fun. Evelyn doesn't start out as a Christian, a woman of strength, or in charge of her life in any way. But she begins taking baby steps and she grows. And along the way God provides. I enjoyed that the main character was a woman close to my age. And I enjoyed how there were a variety of women of different ages and walks in life involved in the storyline. There is romance, mystery, and dilemna included in each book.

So, if you are looking for some light, yet thought provoking reading for the summer, these books will suit you just fine.

Kids for a Day

On Saturday, my husband and hosted a birthday celebration for Jeremiah & Chloe, our adopted grandchildren. Their dad is our associate pastor, they don't have grandparents nearby, and we feel blessed to play the role. Their birthdays are two days apart. And they are two years apart in age - 9 and 7. So we kidnapped them for the day and hosted a day of surprises.

The first surprise was on me. My sweet dog Josey went into early labor and spent the morning birthing puppies. All went well and by the time she was done we had 5 new little yorkie puppies. One girl and four boys. Jeremiah and Chloe got to watch a couple of them be born. Chloe was all interested but Jeremiah thought it was "eeeewww gross!". Appropriate for a 9 year old boy I would say.

We got them each a gift and to make it more fun I devised a treasure hunt. The only rule was that they had to stay together. So I handed them the first clue and they spent the next half an hour deciphering clues and running all over our acre looking for those gift bags. They finally found them in the backseat of the car. I think they enjoyed the hunt as much as the gifts.

Next on the agenda, we packed them in the car and told them we were taking them someplace fun. They spent the whole 30 minute drive trying to guess where we were going. We ended up at the theatre and watched Horton Hears a Who. What a fun little movie. I loved the messages in the movie that said "It doesn't matter how small you are - you still matter", and "Just because you can't see it or touch it, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist". Hmmmmm.... rather profound thinking for little kids.

Next we went to the Golden Corral restaurant because they told us that was their favorite place to eat. And no wonder. It's a smorgasbord type restaurant and they just took their plates and filled up on whatever they wanted. Chloe had a plate of strawberries, some ham, two brownies, a chocolate ice cream cone, a cup of hot chocolate (are you seeing a pattern here - a girl after my own heart), and some gummy bears. Jeremiah had three helpings of steak, a plate of black olives, and a plate of candy corn. I promise, this isn't the way we let our kids eat. But I figured just once wouldn't hurt and anyway they were going home that evening so if they got sick it wouldn't be on my watch. :)

After that we rolled out of that restaurant and went home and played for the rest of the afternoon with all the yard sale toys I collect over the summer.

I think they had a great day. It was so much fun to make it special just for them. And it was fun to be a kid all day.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Potpourri Friday

I've been experimenting this summer with a new work schedule. Due to the price of gas and the fact that I drive about 30 miles each way to work, I talked my supervisor into letting me work a 4 day week. I work a 30 hour week so in order to get all my hours into four days I have been doing 3 eight hour days and 1 six hour day. I choose the day off each week depending on how the schedule looks. So far it's been working quite well and I'm hoping that I can carry on with it throughout the school year. Saving 20% on the fuel costs is nothing to sneeze at these days. But the best part is that I am going to use that one day off each week for the rest of the summer to watch my grandbaby as his mama has to start back to work next week. We are all so sad for them that this day has finally come. My sister is going to watch him all the other days - and nobody loves babies more than she does. But even though it is the best possible situation for childcare imaginable next to his mama actually being home with him....

well, the tough fact is that his mama isn't home with him. And that is going to take some adjustment. So on Tuesday next week if you have an extra minute say a prayer for Michelle. It's going to be a hard day for her. She has been pumping milk ever since he was born - she could actually be feeding two or three babies I think! My deep freeze has two large boxes full of milk for Tyler! She is determined to continue nursing him and I am really proud of her for all the extra commitment this takes. Good job Michelle!

We also have good news about my daughter Andrea. She graduated this spring with a teaching degree and of course is due to deliver Ava Claire the first of October. Her plan all along has been to get a teaching position so her husband can go back to school full time. He has been so patient and worked full time so she could finish first. I was really doubtful that she would be hired this year since she would need a maternity leave right off the bat. She really wanted a kindergarden position as her first choice. A school about 5 minutes from her house called and asked her to interview for a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade position and she did because she thought she better take what she could get. She didn't get those positions but when they called her to tell her they asked her if she would be interested in a kindergarden position! Isn't God so good? He not only provided her with a job, He gave her the desire of her heart. So she will begin teaching in August and then when Ava Claire comes she will get 6 weeks off, go back for a few weeks and then have Thanksgiving and Christmas off. My other sister, the twin of the one watching Tyler, is going to babysit Ava. We are so blessed with family.

You might remember that I have talked about all the celebrations our family has had this year. Our 30th wedding anniversary, 20 years pastoring our church, Tyler's birth, Jess turned 18 and graduated from high school, Andrea graduated from college, I turn 50, my son-in-law turns 30, Ava's birth . . . . . Anyway, we wanted to take a big family vacation in December after Christmas.

I never imagined how hard it would be to arrange a trip for us, our four daughters, two sons-in-law, two grandbabies, and two great-grandmas.

First we dreamed big. We thought Italy would be perfect. But at that time we didn't know about Tyler and Ava. After we realized they were coming we decided we didn't want to spend that kind of money to take two infants overseas.

Then we discussed Mexico. However, Ava won't be able to get a passport in time. Can you imagine that a newborn baby needs a passport? Crazy.

That narrowed things down a bit. It seems we have to stay in the states. So our criteria became we wanted to go somewhere warm.

San Diego was a possibility. I love San Diego. But since Michelle and Tara have both lived there it didn't feel like a vacation spot to them. And they have tons of friends there and I selfishly don't want to share them with their friends on our family vacation.

So we have finally made a decision. We are going to Florida! We have rented a house to stay in and have bought all the plane tickets. I think it's going to be a wild and crazy trip. But I also think we are going to make some memories that will last forever. And we are going to celebrate everything that has happened to our family this year. I can't wait!

Whew! I didn't mean to have such a long post today. For the one or two of you who are still with me - have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lazy Days of Summer - What a Joke!

Lazy Days of Summer - whoever came up with that term anyway? I'll bet they were lazy all the year round too! What is it about summer that just takes over? No matter how organized I try to be - there is just never enough hours in the day.

But no matter how busy I am I always have time for this little guy:

He just has a way of centering our world if you know what I mean. Everything else just stops when he is around and we focus all our attention on him. Can you tell how crazy about him we are? LOL!

Here are a few more pictures of him that I just have to share.

Here he is in Mia's (my grandma name) sink taking a bath. My word, does he love a bath. He can be screaming his head off and the second you put him in the water he totally relaxes and nearly goes to sleep. It is the funniest thing.

And just look at what my little salsa garden produced:

See that red tomato! I cut it up and put it in our salad last night. What a wonderful treat. I can't wait for more! And see that teensy tiny little jalapeno pepper? Wow - I can't wait. I make fresh salsa all summer long and it's going to be so fun to make it fresh from my garden. And the onions are Walla Walla sweets - yum! I planted a row of them and I'm thinking it won't be enough. But the good news is if it's not - we have onion fields all around us and every fall the onion trucks roll past our house and onions invariably fall off the truck and bounce right up into our yard. No kidding. It's like the onion delivery truck or something. Some people get milk delivered - we get onions.

Idaho is cool like that.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Well I didn't plan to be MIA for over a week - but somehow it happened.

But what a week it has been.

My girl from Boston came home for a whole week. We don't get to see her often so we soak in every single minute we can. It is always such a pure delight to have all four of our girls home at the same time. It's better than vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips on top on a hot summer day!

But I can probably explain my absence best in three words.

V. B. S.

Yep, it's that week around here. But this year was the very best ever and this is why. I took on the complete and total responsibility of babysitting my little grandson every single night so his mama and daddy could be pirates at the Bible school. It's been amazing. Every night we snuggle and play. I give him a bath with the best smelling baby bath in the entire world.

If you haven't tried this - well, you just have to. It is amazing! And when you rub it on baby skin - well, it's like you just died and went to heaven. It's that good.

After his bath, I give him a bottle. It's so sweet. If he gets a little fussy we just go outside. He loves outside. He calms right down and looks all around. He smiles and coos. He is the perfect grandson. He is. And I am 100%, completely, totally in love with the little guy. My heart just melts into a puddle of mush whenever I lay eyes on him. My girl Tara said it best. She said, "He just makes my heart hurt mom."

We are all going around here with our hearts hurting. And it's never felt so good.

I promise to be back blogging next week with more regularity. And maybe even some pictures.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

We Have A Winner! And Some 4th of July Trivia

Congratulations to Tiffany for winning Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. You are going to love it Tiffany!

I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July holiday. My girl from the East is flying home for a few days and we can't wait to see her. We all know she is really coming to snuggle with the little man - but we hope to snuggle with her a bit too! All four of my girls, my sons-in-law, my grandbaby - WOW! It is going to be a fantastic weekend. We have all kinds of good food planned, fireworks, jet-skiing and just good old fashioned sitting around and spending time with each other. It doesn't get any better than that!

Just a bit of 4th of July trivia I've heard lately. Did you know the Declaration of Independence was actually signed on July 2?

Did you know that the song God Bless America was written by a young Jewish immigrant from Siberia - Irving Berlin?

And did you know that he was so impressed that God gave him the song that he refused to take any money for it. He donated all the royalties from this song go to the Boy Scouts of America.

Did you know that originally our founding fathers penned the words at the end of the Declaration of Independence to say Americans have the right to "life, liberty, and property". But they realized that some people might take that to mean that since slaves were "property" that they could claim owning slaves as a constitutional right. So they changed it to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". These were some smart guys.

Happy 4th everybody!

Potpourri Friday and a Contest

This post contains a contest so it will remain at the top of my blog until July 3. Scroll down for more recent posts.

I haven't done a Potpourri Friday in a while because my Friday's have just been so consumed lately. But today I feel like a chatty, newsy post - so let's see what happens.

This week has been one of just getting back to work, processing all that happened at the She Speaks conference, and looking ahead to the future. Good days - busy days.

It's no secret that I don't like my job. It's not really the job I don't like, well maybe it is, it's not very challenging to me. But what I really don't like is having to be there, having to plan my life around my work hours, giving the best of my day to something not of my choosing, when all the while my mind is whirling with the things I would rather be doing. Several years ago I began working at this university because it offers a tuition remission program. That means that as long as I work here my kids can attend for free. Even if they are married. Until they are 25. It really has been a gift from God as we could never afford to send our kids to a private Christian university. And what I started doing for one child, I am now obligated to do for the rest of them ;). So this fall my youngest daughter will start here. Which means that in 4 more years I will be free to either continue working here or find something I like better. Unfortunately, I will probably always have to be providing an income. Four years isn't that long and it has gotten me to thinking about the things I want to do after that.

Things like:

Take care of my grandbabies

Spend more time with my husband

Sew more

Read more

Write books

Garden more

Clean my house more

Work in Women's Ministries more

Travel more

I don't know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future. So I am trying to make myself be content - yet look ahead. It helps me keep striving towards the goal when I strain my eyes to see what might be up ahead.

A couple of people mentioned, after seeing my photos of the She Speaks conference, that we were all wearing black and white. And although it certainly wasn't planned - a lot of us were all wearing black and white. Apparently it is a fashion trend. Apparently I lucked into it!

One funny thing that happened to me at the airport in Charlotte was I was getting hungry. And I had been a teensy bit disappointed at the conference to not have any good southern food. We don't get good southern food in the northwest you know. So at the airport I noticed a bar-b-que restaurant with a southern flair to it. So I ordered a bar-b-qued pork sandwich with fries. The first thing I noticed was they plopped a big scoop of cole slaw right on top of the sandwich. That struck me as a bit peculiar as we don't ever do that here. But I like coleslaw so when in Rome . . . When I sat down I picked up one of the large fries and bit into it. To my surprise it wasn't a fry at all. It was a deep fried pickle! After I got over the shock of dill pickle juice running down my chin, I actually enjoyed it. They just served it as a bit of an appetizer I guess. I also missed having my diet Dr. Pepper all weekend. We had the choice of water or sweet tea. Everyone always asked for sweet tea. I finally asked what sweet tea was. We only have tea or tea with sugar in it. I was a little embarrassed to discover that sweet tea is simply tea with sugar in it. Duh!

Our weather has finally warmed up. I was beginning to wonder if we were ever going to have a summer. But now it's nice and warm and just a little bit breezy - perfect for dinners on the patio. And coffee on the patio. And reading on the patio. I love my patio. It is a peaceful place in my life. I love nothing more than sitting at my patio table, my sweet dog Josey on my lap, a glass of ice-cold diet Dr. Pepper, reading a good book or magazine. That is like heaven to me.

And speaking of good books - I am going to have a contest! I have a copy of Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. In my opinion this is one of the best Christian fiction books ever written. I remember when I first read it - we were staying at a bed and breakfast in Bozeman, Montana with my brother and his wife. My sister-in-law went to the Christian bookstore and we eached purchased a copy of this book. We went back to our room and laid on the bed and we could not stop reading. We read all weekend long. Our husbands were thrilled.

Francine Rivers calls this book her statement of faith. It's the first Christian novel she wrote after writing many "bodice-ripping" books. It is a parable of the Book of Hosea from the Bible. It tells of the incredible and unfailing love God has for us his people. It will change you.

If you have not read this book - you really need to. You will love it. So here is what you need to do to win this copy.

1. Enter a comment telling me what one of your favorite books are.
Even if you don't want to enter, I would love to hear what one of your favorite books are.
2. Be sure to leave an email if you don't link back to a blog.
3. Post a little blurb on your blog telling others about the contest.

On July3 I will draw a winner using the random number generator thingy. Pretty simple.

Have a great weekend ya'll. I'm still speaking southern.