Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It Started Out Innocently Enough

Really, it did.  I promise.

I went with Andrea to take Ava Claire to the doctor today.  Afterwards we decided to run by the mall real quick to return a couple of items from the baby shower.

We walked into Macy's.

Can you see where this is going?

We entered the baby department and I saw this.

If you were a new Mia with a sweet little baby granddaughter what would you do?

Uh huh. I thought so.

And then I turned the corner and saw this:

Can you believe it? Is that cute or what? And the little stuffed moose is his very first doll and it matches the little moose on the button up shirt! So if you were a new Mia with a sweet little 4 month old grandson, what would you do?

Uh huh. I thought so.

So I took it all to the counter and the nice lady that was working said - "Did you see the little dolls that match the little girls outfit?"

"What? A little doll? Show me!"

So then I added this to the stack:

And then my mind went into overdrive trying to come up with a plan to pay for it all. And then I remembered! I had a bit of mad money I was saving for something for myself. I don't really need anything for myself, so I quickly came up with a new plan for spending my mad money.

It was a sign.

And now my sweet little grandbabies have new dollies and new clothes and they have one really happy Mia!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Meet Miss Ava Claire

I have a granddaughter.

How I savor those words in my heart and in my soul. I feel as though I have been blessed beyond whatever I could ever want or dream. To have a grandson and now a granddaughter - well, there are just no words.

Ava Claire took her first breath at 7:42 on Friday morning. We spent another long night helping Andrea labor - much like we did with her sister Michelle - what's with babies deciding to be born early in the morning? When she finally came whoops and hollers erupted throughout the room. Our whole family was present again for Ava's birth, just like we were for Tyler. We are a good support system to each other! Ava's daddy was wonderful with Andrea - he stayed right with her and coached her and encouraged her through. I don't know how common it is for granddad's to be the one to cut the cord, but in this case that's how it was.

 Andrea's sisters were there to rub her back and whisper words of encouragement to her when it seemed as though the night would never end. One of my favorite memories of the evening was when I walked in and saw my four girls together sharing a moment of love.  It brought tears to my eyes and my heart took a picture that will always hang in the corridor of my memory.  I was there to be the mama to my baby girl as she prepared to become a mama and meet her very own baby girl.   We talked about how labor and delivery must have been for Mary the night she gave birth to our Lord in a cave.  

Even little Tyler was there, sleeping soundly in his car seat. Having babies these days is certainly different than when I had them or when my mother gave birth. I like it this way. We are a family that works together and rejoices together. And I can't think of a time that requires more work or results in more rejoicing than when we welcome a new family member.

She is such a sweet and beautiful little girl. She has a little bit of very blonde hair and she looks much like her daddy. Except she has her mama's pretty lips. And she has gorgeous skin - not a blemish anywhere. So without further ado.........

meet Miss Ava Claire

Here our my two little grandbabies getting to know each other.  I think they are going to hit it off really well.

Believe it or not this is Andrea with her Dr. Julie.  What an amazing doctor she is.  She actually made up a bed for Jayson in the delivery room.  When was the last time you heard of a doctor making a bed for a patient or their family?  She was such a gift.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

She's Here!!!

Ava Claire has arrived safe and sound - all 7 pounds and 2 ounces of her! She is beautiful and everything we imagined.
I only have a minute but I promise to return soon with all the details and most importantly pictures.
God is so very good. So very, very good.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Potpourri Friday

I have been a woman of few words lately.

The words, they just aren't flowing for me.

I think it's because September has been such an overwhelming month for me. There seems to be something going all the time. And I think it has something to do with my magazine writing class - it is snatching up all my good words for all the magazine articles I am writing as assignments. As in, homework. Homework, as in work I have to do at home between church and Bible studies, and weddings, and appointments with people, and cleaning my house, and spending time with my little grandson.

But the class is fun and challenging and I'm glad I'm doing it. We are writing articles that we actually have to query and submit to many different magazines. Our professor's goal is that each of us will be published by the end of the semester. So this weekend I have to write a "how-to" article that we have to submit to five different magazines and also a query letter for a feature article for our University magazine. The pressure is on. But if I'm going to make my writing career take off -this is really good for me. I have never written under a deadline before. I have never written anything "on command" before. So even though it's a good kind of stretching, well, it's still stretching. And stretching can be a bit uncomfortable.

We are on "high alert" waiting for Ava Claire's arrival. My cell phone is with me continually. On Tuesday we are supposed to go up to the mountains for our annual pastor's and wives retreat. We have made our reservations, but we can cancel them at a moments notice. And it's only a two hour drive to the Birthing Center - so if labor begins while we are there I think I'm pretty sure we can still make it back to help coach my daughter through labor.

I can't believe our little girl is going to be with us soon - I can hardly wait to see what she looks like! Her nursery is just so adorable. I wish I had taken a picture last night when we were there. And she already has a very full closet of clothes - just like a little girl should! Oh Ava Claire - if you only knew how loved you already are. You would hurry up and get here for sure!

Okay, it's back to my magazine article writing. Have a great and wonderful weekend. And if little Ava Claire gives us any indication of impending arrival - I will break right in and let you all know!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Potpourri Friday

Happy Friday! I don't know why but this has seemed like a long week. And even though the weekend looks to be crazy busy - there's just something fun about a weekend. During the week I get up anywhere between 5:30 and 6:00. On the weekends - even though I always seem to have a thousand things going on - at least I stay in bed until 7:00 or so. And then I always, always, always drink 2 cups of coffee with cream on the patio and just enjoy the morning. That's my most favorite time of the day and it rejuvenates me to just enjoy it while sipping my coffee with my sweet dog Josey sitting on my lap.

Let's see - just what kept me so busy this week? Last Sunday we had our annual Family Fair and Roundup Sunday at the country fairgrounds. We literally move church to the areana. We have Cowboy Church. This year we had over 650 people attend. We bring in musical groups who entertain all afternoon. We had lots of inflatable toys for the many children to play on all day. Of course there is tons of good food. And the afternoon holds a team roping competition. It is a HUGE day for our smallish sized church. Typically we run close to 300 - so this more than doubles our size - and our work! But it's all worth it.

Then on Sunday and Monday night we got to have Michelle and the baby spend the nights with us. Brad went hunting for a few days and it worked well with Michelle's schedule to stay with us. What a joy to have my little grandson stay with us overnight! He is still just melting my heart with his winsome smile.

Here he is playing "so big" with Mia!

See what I mean? He just makes me laugh! He recognizes who I am now and breaks into a huge grin when he sees me. Have I mentioned how crazy in love I am with this little boy?

And then we are still adjusting to Jess being in college. And she is still adjusting too. Her roommate situation didn't turn out to be a good one at all. Just two very different personalities that weren't meant to be together. Her roommate ended up moving out this week. Jess went back to her room after class one day and her room was empty. Let's just say I have struggled a bit with keeping the "mama bear" in me subdued. I know I am probably biased when it comes to Jess, but honestly, she is just the sweetest kindest and gentlest person around. And she has a very tender heart. This whole episode has done nothing to help her adjustment to college or her self esteem. But we agree that God is using this for her good and in the end she will be better for it. But oh how we hate these hard times. She has a new roommate now and it seems to be going much better. Hopefully, this is all going to settle down now. Hopefully.

On a happier note - my sisters and I hosted a baby shower for little Ava Claire who is scheduled to make her debut in 3 weeks. 3 weeks! I can't believe it - in just three weeks I will be snuggling a sweet brand-new baby girl in my arms. I cannot wait. I am taking a week off work like I did for Michelle and will be staying with Jayson and Andrea helping them take care of this precious little girl. Her shower turned out very well and let me just say that little Miss Ava Claire will be the best dressed girl in the county!

Instead of a cake we had a chocolate fountain - which was a huge hit with the little girls who were in attendance. Don't ever try to tell me that girls don't have a genetic disposition to chocolate!

It took quite a while for Andrea to open all these gifts!

Andrea's mother-in-law made this sweet flannel blanket. I just love these kind of quilts - they are so snuggly. She also made her a really big Raggedy Ann doll - I forgot to get a picture of her.

Isn't Andrea just so beautiful? She has handled this pregnancy so well. She started teaching kindergarden this fall - 8 months pregnant! She is doing such an incredible job holding it all together. I know she will cherish each day of the 6 week maternity leave she will have.

This is the quilt that I made for Miss Ava Claire. I enjoyed sewing every stitch of it. Michelle and Andrea are going to take the babies with their quilts and have their photos done. I love that idea! Quilts are the kind of gift that carry special meaning that only gets stronger with each passing year.

What a lot of wonderful gifts. Our friends and family were so generous.

Another thing that has kept me hopping is that I have 2 litters of Yorkies ready to go to their new homes. Three of them have left but I still have 4 to go. I cannot begin to describe to you how much work and effort this takes. Just imagine how much pooping and peeing 7 puppies can do. Even if they only weigh a pound, I swear they poop 10 pounds a day! I have a real phobia about my house not smelling like I have had 10 dogs living with us.

I know.

10 dogs is about 7 dogs over my limit. I believe this is the last time to breed. I have been doing it for about 10 years and you know what? I'm ready to stop now. I'm ready to stop a lot of things now and just focus on being a grandmother. That's all that fills my thoughts and heart these days. So I think after these last 4 pups go - that will be the end of it for me. I started breeding these dogs to help fund my girls through college. And it did. But this particular breed has become quite trendy thanks to Hollywood, and because of that everyone and their brother has decided to get in on the profit fun and because of that you find all kinds of dogs passed off as purebred. It is a really frustrating thing to me and I'm really weary of the whole thing. If you ever pick out a dog - really do the research on the breeder and their dogs. Just because you have papers - well, I hate to say it - but that doesn't always mean anything.

I pride myself on my breeding program - I think I turn out some great puppies. Here's a couple of my current litter.

My magazine writing class is turning out to be a lot of work. I knew it would and I am really enjoying it. But it adds extra "to do" stuff on my already very long list.

This weekend I have to work Saturday - another testing day at my job. And then I am hosting about 20 people at my home for a progressive dinner. And then Sunday, well, Sunday is a day all of its own. And Monday is back to work.

Life goes on doesn't it? And that, my friends, is a good thing!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I posted this last year on 9/11. It sums up everything I feel on this day.

9/11. September 11th. Whatever you call it, it always brings vivid images to our minds of a horrific event that changed our lives and how we live them. I remember having the television on as I was getting ready to leave for work and seeing the smoldering smoke. The tv commentator was discussing whether it had been a small plane veering off course when suddenly from nowhere a second plane glided around and unbelievably hit the second tower. I remember sitting on my bed in disbelief trying to comprehend what had happened. I remember the babies and children who lost parents on that day. I remember the strong and brave testimony of women like Lisa Beymer who lost her strong and brave husband that day. I remember how my place of employment set up televisions throughout the halls and left them on for a week. Unheard of. May we never forget. May we never let down our guard. May we pray for peace with a fervency like never before.

Strangely enough, 10 years earlier, 9/11 had already imprinted itself in my mind as a day of a horrific loss that had changed my life and how I live it. On September 11, 1991 my father died in a plane accident. I spoke to him for the very last time on this earth early that morning. The phone was ringing as I was rushing out the door for work and I picked it up. It was dad. I had almost missed it. We spoke a few minutes and I left. On my way to work I was reviewing the conversation in my mind and a very strange thought occurred to me. A thought that said, "that would be the last time you ever talk to your dad". I quickly brushed it off thinking that I sure did have a morbid and active imagination. Now I believe that God was trying to prepare me for the news I would receive later that day. He crashed within an hour of our conversation.

This morning, I read that dear Amy Wilhoite lost her earthly battle and is finally at peace with the God she loved and served so faithfully. She leaves behind a dear husband and little boy who's lives are changed and will never be lived the same. They will go on and they will be okay because they love and serve the same great God that Amy did. But it will never be the same.

All these tragedies serve to remind me that this life is not all there is. It is only a blip on a very large screen that represents eternity. Yes, we should make the most of the days we are given here. But we need to always keep in mind that there is more. So much more. I pray that on this day you will take a moment to review your relationship with God. He has so much more planned for us than just this earthly life. We can have eternity with Him and our loved ones if we will accept His merciful gift. I pray today that if you are not in relationship with Him that this day will not end before you pray and ask Him to come in to your life. Because when He does you will never be the same. And when events like the ones I have talked about today happen, you will have a different perspective on the precious gift of life. And even though we can't understand why such difficult things happen, you will have a hope for the future that gives us reason to carry on.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Just Can't Stop Myself

Okay. I have always declared that my blog is not a political blog. And it's not. Really, it's not. But today I'm breaking my self-imposed rule because I cannot stop myself from writing about politics.

I have to say that as much as I enjoyed watching the Olympics for two weeks, I have enjoyed even more watching the Democratic and the Republican Conventions. They have been riveting television to me. I can't get enough. I watch them. I listen to all the speakers - not just the main candidates. I record them and watch them again. I listen to commentary from conservative and liberal pundits. I read newspapers and online news services. I talk to anybody who wants to talk about it with me. I absolutely love it.

I will go on record as saying that I am a passionate conservative. I hold to no political party. I do not vote by party lines. My vote goes to the person I am most inclined to loan my power to. Because to me that is what voting is. Loaning my power to somebody I trust to do with it as I would. Sometimes that person has an elephant by their name. Sometimes there is a donkey sitting there. Sometimes there is no animal at all.

I believe that voting is a sacred and precious privilege that many young men and women have died for. Many women have lost their children, many wives have lost their husbands, many children have lost their dads so that I can choose whether or not to get myself out of bed and head down to the voting booth. I do not take their sacrifice lightly. No one should. To me it is dispicable to think that a person would choose to not exercise their right to vote. But it is their right. There is a lot of blood in the ground to prove that to be true.

I have three things to share about our political process that I think can make the whole election season an easier and kinder event.

1. Listen to both sides. No matter what side you are on you can only benefit by listening to both sides. I think we should try to spend more time finding the things we agree on instead of accusing each other about what we don't. We are all people who love our country. We all want what we believe is best for our families. By taking the time to listen, really listen, to why other people believe as they do, we become enriched, more knowledgeable, and easier to get along with.

2. Don't let others do your thinking for you. Don't just be a sponge that soaks up what other people believe to be true. Research issues yourself. With the internet today you would be surprised how easy it is to do. Search for information that comes directly from the source and not just a pundit's mouth. I listen to a lot of news. But I listen to both sides. And I don't believe everything I hear.

3. Be passionate - but back that passion with knowledge. There is nothing worse than listening to somebody spout off with intense emotion but not be able to answer a single intelligent question. It negates everything they say they believe in.

That's it. Three simple voting rules to live by.

There was one political event this year that I have the utmost respect for. It was Rick Warren's Saddleback church Civic Forum. I thought the format was absolutely brilliant. I thought Pastor Warren showed the utmost integrity by not presenting his viewpoint or adding any spin to the answers. The candidates were given unknown, very tough questions to simply answer in front of an audience and a camera. It was obvious that some of the questions startled them. I learned more about our two main candidates in this forum in two hours than I have learned about them in the last four years. If you missed it - try to find someone who recorded it. It was truly amazing. Until I saw it a couple of weeks ago, I did not know who to loan my power to. After I saw it, I knew exactly who I would loan my power to. And he is going to have to continue working to keep my faith in him. I will be watching him very closely to make sure he does not abuse the power I loaned him.

And because I just can't seem to stop myself today, I have four more words to say:

Sarah - you go girl!