Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Fave 5

I did something for today's Friday Fave post that I have been intending to do for a long time. I took pictures! So here are my five favorite things of the past week in photo and words.

1. I got a package in the mail this week. Nothing is more exciting to me than getting a package in the mail - especially if that package contains BOOKS! So here are most recent additions to the stack of books on my nightstand:

I've heard so many good things about the book with the strange name - I'm anxious to get going with it. The other is book number 5 in the Elm Creek Quilter's series.

2. After saving my pennies, I finally went to Costco and got a very much needed set of pots and pans. I think this stainless steel set will last the rest of my natural life and I may even be able to leave them in my will. All my other pots and pans were ones I bought at the grocery store - the ones where they add a new piece every week. The teflon was long ago eaten and they were pretty much worthless. It's amazing how this set of pots and pans has made it fun to cook and do dishes again! I wonder how long that will last?

3. On Wednesdays after work I go to my sister's house and pick up my sweet granddaughter little Miss Ava Claire and bring her home with me. Her mama and daddy always come to church on Wednesday nights so they give us the honor of having her with us for that evening. I play with her and then we take her to church and after church I get to give her a bath and put her jammies on her. Then she has to go home. I look forward to getting off work on Wednesdays!

4. Went to JoAnne's Fabric this week and spotted the sweetest little Easter fabrics. I couldn't resist. Looks like Miss Ava Claire will soon be sporting some new Easter fashion. I've heard that jelly beans and bunnies are all the rage this season.

5. Last night as I got home from work I noticed the first promise of spring. I cannot tell you how much I needed the first promise of spring. My Crocus are popping up! Hallelujah!

Pop on over to Susanne's Living to Tell the Story and check out some more Friday Favorite's. Or add your own. It's fun!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Feel A Rant Coming On

The day is soon arriving when my little grandson and his mama and daddy are leaving for Peru to work in a mission organization through our church. They are leaving in less than three weeks.

For three whole years.

This is no more comprehendable to me now than it was when they first told me their plans three months ago. Probably because I have had three more months to love on and adore my sweet little boyfriend.

This whole letting go process has been excruciating. Grieving is very hard and very exhausting work. I absolutely don't believe I could have made it this far without the strong shoulder of my husband to cry on and knowing that my God knows my heartbreak and He cries with me too.

I thought I had handled the whole empty nest thing amazingly well. In fact, I have been known to brag about myself even. I never guessed that my little birdlings might consider flying to another country. It's a whole new deal now. I can no longer brag about myself.

I remember the evening that Michelle first told me she was pregnant. I looked at her and my first words were "It's a boy." She said, "I think so too". How did we know? I'm not sure - but I knew it. And when I saw on the ultrasound that indeed - we were having a grandson - I have to admit that I was the teensiest bit disappointed and as a mom of four daughters I thought to myself, "What in the world are we going to do with a boy?"

When little Tyler was finally born after hours and hours and hours of labor, I still wondered "What do you do with a boy?"

Silly me. We love that boy. He has changed our lives. Now I am asking "What in the world am I going to do without that boy?

Now I worry about things like: Since he will be learning to talk as his mama and daddy are learning to speak Spanish is he going to be able to speak english? Will I be able to talk to him? What am I going to do when I see him again when he is 18 months old and he doesn't know me? Will I be able to handle it when he hides his face in his mama's shoulder because he is afraid of me? When he comes to visit how will I know what kind of food he loves - I don't cook many Peruvian dishes. Actually, I don't cook any. How will I know what toys he likes and what games he enjoys and how he likes to play. How will I know what song he wants me to sing and will he even let me rock him to sleep?

As we have processed their leaving, we have had to realize that God speaks to our children and He doesn't have to tell us what He says to them. I'm tempted to think that's kind of rude. Afterall, haven't we invested a great deal of our lives in our kids? Sigh. As I said, letting go is hard.

I don't have a clue how we are going to survive the day they actually leave. I will miss my daughter. I will miss my son-in-law. I will miss my sweet little grandboy. The other day I half-jokingly told my husband that we need to find a support group. And then I found one. It's called Harvest Legacy and it is full of good information about how to deal with all of this. We even have a name. We are POM's. Parents of Missionaries. Who knew? I have to say this is a club I never signed up for.

Harvest Legacy is full of articles from parents who have gone through what we are going through. And guess what? I'm normal! That in itself made me feel so much better. It is normal to cry all the time and grieve and be angry. It is normal to feel abandoned and lonely and unimportant. It really is. Most every parent does. They also tell me that it is important to support my kids and not unload my feelings on them because they don't need to take my baggage with them. They won't be able to share their feelings with me if they think I can't handle it. Okay, I haven't done so well on that one. But I'm trying - I really am. And I intend to keep trying. If I really have to walk this walk then I want to do it right.

So the days are short now. God still has a lot to do to get them all ready to go. My kids' faith impresses me. They completely believe He will provide for their every need and will absolutely tie up all the loose ends at home here including selling their house and vehicles. I am showing Michelle how to "do" a blog. I want to read everyday what is going on in their lives.

I told my daughter that I have never once prayed asking God not to let them go. That is the truth. I have only prayed that His will be very clear to all of us. If He is asking them to do this, they will receive blessings and I don't want to be the one to steal their blessings from them. I want to let them go with my blessing and with open arms. It's just so hard.

My goodness. That really was a rant.

But I feel better now.

Thank you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Worship Music and Marshmallows

So what does Worship Music have to do with marshmallows?

Click on over to the Praise Baby blog where I'm blogging today and find out.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Beautiful Prayer

I was so impressed with Rick Warren's beautiful prayer he gave for President Obama's inauguration. Did you catch it? It was very clear that the words were spoken from his heart to his God. I had heard that there was a bit of controversy about whether he was going to pray "in Jesus' name" or not. Boy did he! Four different translations of the name of Jesus as a matter of fact! You go Pastor Warren! For people of faith - this was very moving.

Here is the transcipt of the prayer:

Let us pray.

Almighty God, our Father, everything we see and everything we can’t see exists because of you alone. It all comes from you. It all belongs to you. It all exists for your glory.

History is your story. The Scripture tells us, “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God. The Lord is One.” And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.

Now, today, we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time. We celebrate a hinge point of history with the inauguration of our first African American president of the United States. We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where the son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven.

Give to our new President, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the cabinet, and every one of our freely elected leaders.

Help us, O God, to remember that we are Americans, united not by race, or religion, or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all. When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us. When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us. And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ.

Help us to share, to serve and to seek the common good of all. May all people of goodwill today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day all nations and all people will stand accountable before you. We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.

I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus (this one was pronouced in the Spanish language), Jesus, who taught us to pray: (Italics mine)

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And We Have a Winner

Forgive me for falling behind. Again. Sigh. That is my life story.

Last Friday was supposed to be the day that I chose a winner in the Big Project 2009 contest. The Cowboy quilt won by a land slide. So that is the project I will be starting.

I counted the entries, put them in the random number generator, and the first number that was drawn belonged to:

My son-in-law Jayson. He was thrilled. However, he also said to draw another winner because he was pretty sure he wouldn't ever make the little felted heart kit.

So I drew another number. Number 6. And Wendy was #6. So congratulations Wendy for winning the little heart kit. I hope you enjoy it!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Fave 5 - #20

This has been one of those whirlwind weeks in my life. Work everyday and meetings or some type of obligation every evening. I have just fallen into bed every night totally exhaused. So I find that it is a bit more challenging this week to come up with my 5 favorite moments. But here goes.

1. Well, falling into my bed every night has definitely been a favorite moment. There is just nothing compared to crawling into warm sheets and pulling them up to my eyes. Feeling my body finally relax. Listening to the sounds of the house quieting down. Hearing the dogs curling up in their kennels. Gazing at a sliver of moonlight make it's way between the cracks of the blinds. Pure bliss.

2. Watching the first shows of this season's 24! Yay! Jack is back! My whole family loves 24 and we dvr it and watch it together without commercials. So far, the first 4 hours have been phenomonal, and we are all looking forward to a great season.

Edited to add: Thanks for reminding me Becky! I knew Tony wasn't dead! I said it from the first minute that he "died". And I knew he wasn't a bad guy. I knew it - I just knew it!

3. Listening to sweet little Miss Ava Claire talk. She discovered that she has a voice and my word, that girl has things to say. We just can't decipher what they are. But we don't care. Her tiny little girl voice just melts my heart.

4. This week I had a meeting with my Women's Council. At the end of the meeting the ladies gathered around me and laid their hands on me and prayed for me. It was so special and sweet to feel so loved. It reminded me of how blessed I am.

5. I finished the book "The Runaway Quilt" which is a part of the Elm Creek Quilters series. I don't know why it took me so long to notice these books but I have truly enjoyed them. This particular book was about the history of quilts in the Civil War days. It was full of good historical information and a compelling story. I didn't want to finish it - it was that good. Thankfully, it was only book #4 and there are eight more to go!

My goodness - that wasn't hard at all! I guess when you take the time to think about all the good things in your life - you realize that we have so many blessings each and every day. God is so good - all the time!
If you would like to check out some more Friday Fave's or even become a part of this weekly fun - just go here to Susann'a at Living to Tell the Story.
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Big Project 2009 Contest- SCROLL DOWN for more recent posts

Win this sweet little felted heart kit by voting in Big Project 2009. I need your help deciding which project to do. You have until January 16th. And if you post about this contest on your blog, your name will be entered in the drawing twice. Go HERE and vote!

Scroll down for more recent posts!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How I Aquired the Book 'Knit Two' - or What Being In A Drug Induced Stupor Can Accomplish

You have all heard of my terrible fear of flying. And how I have determined to never let that fear stop me from going places with and for my family . In 2008 I flew three times. Across the country each time. For somebody who is afraid to fly, I think that's pretty impressive. I have tried many, many techniques to manage my fear and nothing really works. And sadly, the more I fly, the more fearful I get. It's really, really strange.

One thing I have learned is that if I am well-rested I do a much better job of keeping my fear under control. In fact, when I recently flew to Florida after Christmas, I made it the whole way there without medication. I was nervous and at times fearful. But I managed it. I even looked out the window as we landed in Tampa. That is huge for me. Huge. I was so happy that I didn't have to take any medicine. I thought maybe I had turned a page in this whole scary novel.

The return trip home however, was another story.

I wasn't as rested when we left for home. Due to the fact that we went to bed at midnight and got up at 4 a.m. to make it to the airport in time for our flight.

Note to self: Never schedule anymore early morning flights.

The plane began to bump around. The pilot announced we would have a rough flight. The fear began to take root and grow. And I wasn't managing it well at all. So mid-flight, somewhere between Tampa and Chicago, I took one of my prescription pills. A very common prescription that many people take without many side affects. But not me. Oh no. Not me.

First of all it makes me laugh.


My family knows the symptoms well. As soon as they hear the first giggles my daughters know it's time for fun. They start saying things that they know will make it worse. The brats. My husband on the other hand is very protective. And he makes them leave me alone. Thank you honey.

I also have a hard time walking a straight line. So after sitting for a couple of hours on the plane, when it's time to get up, I tend to wobble all over the place. My husband escorts me down the aisle and through the cold tunnel into the airport. That's what happened this time too. And as we approached a bookstore in the airport my husband says I stopped dead in my tracks, pointed at a copy of Knit Two, and said:


Hubby: "Okay Honey."

Me: "I WANT THAT BOOK RIGHT NOW! I read the first one and I need this one."

Hubby: "Let's go sit down first. We can get the book later."

Apparently that's what we did. For a while. It wasn't long though before I looked at my husband and said:


Hubby: "You still want that book?"

Me: "Are you telling me I can't have that book?"

Hubby: "I'll go get it."

And he left me in my mother-in-law's care and went and paid $27 for a book. You need to know that I never would pay $27 for a book if I were in my right mind. And my husband wouldn't pay $27 for a book if I was in my right mind either.

Later on, after the medication had somewhat worn off, I looked on the table beside my chair and exclaimed:

"Oh Look! I've been wanting this book for a long time!" "Where did I get this book?"

My husband just rolled his eyes. And my girls split their sides laughing at me. I have no memory of any of this. For all I know this never happened.

Except that there is indeed a hardback copy of Knit Two sitting on my night stand right now.

Clearly I need to find a new medication or else remember to schedule future trips around the release dates of books I want to read.

More Hats for Miss Ava

So I think I am addicted to knitting these sweet little baby hats. Little Ava and Tyler have quite the hat wardrobe - one for every occasion!

I just finished two more for Ava Claire. Here she is to model them. The first one is a bunny hat - made of beautiful angora and mohair yarn. Tara was going to knit it for her but she got to busy in her master's program so she asked me to make it. And I did - it was really easy and fun to work with such soft yarn.

I also have had the yarn to make this sweet little upside down daisy hat from Itty Bitty Hats. I tell you, that book has the sweetest patterns in it. And it took me two evening to make this hat. Just two evenings while my husband watched tv.

When you have a bald, little head like Miss Ava does, you really appreciate having these warm little hats. I used a cotton yarn for this hat and it stretches really nice. I think she will be able to wear it well into the spring.

Clearly these children are going to have more hats than they will ever wear or I need more grandchildren to knit hats for.

Do you hear me kids?

p.s. Don't forget to vote here for my Big Project 2009. Right now it looks like the Western Wallhanging Quilt is ahead. You have until Friday to vote.

Monday, January 12, 2009

This is my first daybook entry.

FOR TODAY January 12, 2009

Outside my window I am watching the progress of our new Science Building being built on campus. I am at work right now :)

I am thinking of how much I wish I could be a stay-at-home grandmother.

I am thankful, however, that my job provides a college education for my daughters.

I am wearing black pants, a long sleeved black tee, and a white fleece vest. It is cold this morning.

I am creating many schedules today for students who are returning for second semester.

I am going to JoAnn Fabrics during my lunch hour to buy patterns since they are all 99 cents today.

I am reading The Elm Creek Quilters series byJennifer Chiaverini . I just finished book four "The Runaway Quilt" which I enjoyed thouroughly. Book #5 is in the mail to me now via Amazon.

I am hoping today just flies by. The beginning week of a new semester can be quite stressful.

I am hearing my phone buzzing me a text message.

Around the house I still have Christmas decorations to put away. How come it's never as much fun to put them away as it is to bring them out?

One of my favorite things is playing with my sweet grandbabies.

A few plans for the rest of the week include putting those pesky Christmas decorations away, having some church folks over for dinner, and make it through a challenging work week.

Here is picture thought I am sharing

My little granddaughter - Ava Claire.

Click here to read more Daybook entries - or do one yourself - it is really fun!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday's Fave 5

This is the first Friday's Fave 5 of the year for me. As I think back over this week I realize that I have experienced a little bit of post-vacation letdown. And strangely my family has not been able to overcome the 2 hour time change from our trip to Florida! About 8:30 in the evening we fall asleep and I wake up every morning about 4:00. We didn't struggle with it during our vacation - just when we got home. I've always said a person needs a vacation to recover from their vacation!

Here is my list for this week:
1) This week I put up the card table and got out a jigsaw puzzle for all of us to work on. There is just something so cozy about sitting around the card table and searching through all those little similar pieces to find just the right one. We have already had lots of fun with it.
2) I am so thankful to be able to park my car in the garage every night. I go from my house to my car never realizing how cold it is outside until I get to work. I don't have to scrape ice from my windows or warm up the car for 10 minutes before I leave. My husband on the other hand does, because he let's me have the garage.
3) After our plane arrived home this week, we immediately jumped into the truck and took my mother-in-law back home. She lives about 100 miles away in a little mountain town. So we went that day from 80 degrees in Florida to 10 degrees in Idaho. The next day she made us her famous spaghetti so it was totally worth a 70 degree temperature change and the risk of getting pneumonia!
4) I have thouroughly enjoyed looking through our vacation pictures all week. Digital cameras are such a wonder!
5) My little granddaughter, Ava Claire, is finally growing! She went to the doctor this week and she has gained 2 pounds. She is such a tiny little girl. At three and a half months she is still only 11 pounds. She is smiling and "talking" and becoming so much fun. It is such a blessing to have a grandson and a granddaughter!
If you would like to read more Fave Friday posts, check out Susanne's Living to Tell the Story Blog. You might even want to join in the fun!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

BIG Project 2009 and a Contest!

Still being on the quest of "Big Project 2009", as promised I have pictures of my options. Study them carefully and then vote on what project you think I should attempt.

But first, I wanted to share a Christmas present I was given by a dear friend. It is a most amazing book of Christmas crafts, recipes, and millions of ideas. It's called Gooseberry Patch - Christmas All Through the House. It is so large I can only browse through a few pages at a time before I get "idea overload"! I have already earmarked a few pages that I am going to save for next this Christmas.

The recipes have beautiful pictures and easy to follow directions. Just look at the presentation - it's all so beautiful.

These truffles caught my eye - I think they will make beautiful Christmas gifts for friends at work.

This red/white quilt jumped off the page at me. Definitely going into my "future project" pile of ideas.

Every time I browse through this book I think of Barb. Barb, I think you need a copy of this book.

Okay, onto "BIG project 2009".

Choice Number One - Western Wallhanging
This actually isn't a BIG project but a couple of years ago my husband bought me this quilt/wallhanging kit. He never buys me quilt/wallhanging kits. Obviously the western decor spoke to him. My plan for it is to change the cowgirl into a cowboy. Because I am not the roper in this family and everyone would be confused if they saw a wallhanging with a cowgirl on it. Since the cowperson on the quilt is just a silhouette I think it will be an easy thing to do. Also, you may notice that the border has different blocks of brands. I thought it would be fun to collect all the brands that belong to our friends and church people and applique their brands onto the wallhanging. Then I would give it to my husband to hang in his office. Because everyone would be confused if I hung western decor in my country french decorated house.

Choice #2 - Felt Advent Kits

I purchased these this year with my two sweet grandbabies in mind. They really won't be able to use them themselves for a couple or three years so I don't feel like it is a big rush to get them done. But I wanted to buy them because they were on sale and I didn't know if I would be able to find them again in two or three years. I love that they have the nativity scene on them - I like to try to keep as much of Jesus in Christmas as I can. I would change the pattern a little bit and make pockets for each of the little figures to fit into. It seems that it would be easier to keep track of them that way. I know if it were my house I would end up losing one or two of the little figures, or the dog would eat them. Definitely pockets.

Option #3 - Prayer Quilt/Wallhanging

This was a gift to me from the ladies in my church. I have seen it finished and I just love it. It is a beautiful wallhanging that has lots of little prayers embroidered into several of the blocks. If you click on the picture I think you can read the prayers. The colors are so fun and I can't wait to see this hanging in my living room.

Option #4 or #5 - Cross Stitch pictures

Many years ago I collected every issue of this wonderful cross-stitch magazine. Every single issue had at least one thing in it that I wanted to make. Over time the magazine sold out to a bigger company who started running advertising in it and the quality of the magazine decreased. Now they are out of business. But I held onto every issue - they are some of my treasures. My mom made the Santa Bowing at the manger picture and I have always loved it. The baby in the washbasin is absolutely adorable and I would love to make it and hang it in my bathroom. Of all the projects, I believe this would be the BIGGEST one. The colors are muted and similar and I think it would take me quite a while to finish it. But it would be worth it because I just love it. If you think I should do the Santa picture vote for #4 or if you think I should do the baby picture vote for #5.

Okay, now it's up to you. I'm going to let you vote on what project I should do. And I'm even going to make a contest out of this. If you vote on the project that gets the most votes, I will put your name into a drawing to win a sweet little felted heart kit. I forgot to take a picture of it - but trust me it is sweet and easy. If you post about my contest on your blog I will enter your name again. Let's leave this open until next Friday, the 16th. At that time I will count the votes to see what project I'm doing and I will draw a winning name for the felted heart kit. Just in time for Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I Need A Big Project

I'm in the mood to start on a big project. A quilt maybe, a large cross-stitch perhaps, a challenging sweater to knit? That's the problem, I can't decide what to do. I think it has something to do with the snow and the cold. It makes me just want to hunker down in my "cabin" and create. I want to do something that is going to take time and thought and deliberation. I want it to be really involved.

I have several projects to choose from. Maybe tonight I will take some photo's of them and post them tomorrow and ya'll (I'm pretending I'm still in Florida) can help me decide.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Warm Memories

Last night as I lay in my bed and listened to the wind howl all night, and this morning when I had to trudge through 6 inches of snow to get to my car to drive to work, and as I had to drive 30 miles an hour on sheer ice, I stayed warm just thinking of where I was last week – in 80 degree Florida!

It’s always so amazing how you spend so much time saving and planning for a vacation. It seems like the day you leave is never going to arrive. And suddenly, just like that, it’s over.

That’s how it was for this vacation. We planned for over a year. We saved and researched and thought out everything we wanted to do. We anticipated for months having this week together. And now it is a wonderful, warm memory.
We rented a large home in the Clearwater, Florida area. It had a large pool and hot tub and a dock in the back yard for the guys to fish off of. We didn’t have a boat – that would have been nice. Next time we will plan to rent a boat. It was nice staying in a home instead of a hotel. We cooked some of our meals. Why is it that cooking and dishes don't seem like work when you are on vacation? We each had a room to stay in that gave us personal space when we needed it. Except for poor Tara. She got the sofa in the “Florida room” and it was all glass windowed walls. She didn’t get a lot of personal space. Next time, Tara gets her own room.

We didn’t do a lot of tourist-y things. We mainly wanted to just be together. We drank coffee on the patio every morning and we went to the beach. We ate some great seafood. We did set aside one day where some of the group went to Disney World (I am such a Disney girl!) and the other half of the group went deep-sea fishing. All the girls treated ourselves to pedicures and the guys spent lots of hours fishing off the dock. We made popcorn in the evenings. We spent time (although it wasn’t enough) with Chuck’s sister and family who live in the area. We marveled over the fact that it was balmy and warm while at home it was COLD and SNOWING. Every morning as we drank coffee by the pool we laughed about how we could never do that at home during the Christmas season. We would be walking down the road and notice how out of place the Christmas decorations looked. I’m sorry but Santa in a sled being pulled by reindeer just doesn’t blend with flamingos and seashells LOL!
Jess got to go parasailing and she loved that. My mom collected seashells and she loved that. The babies got to put their feet in the ocean and they loved that. I got to live in the same house with my four sweet girls and my two sweet grandbabies and I loved that. I love when my four girls are all together. I just enjoy watching them interact with each other and studying their personality differences. I love how they love each other. That doesn’t mean there aren’t times of inevitable conflict, but their bond is tight and they are sisters in every sense of the word. That just fulfills my heart. I love watching two of my girl’s mother their own babies. It just melts my heart to see the love they have for their own little ones. There truly is nothing sweeter than holding hands with your husband as you gaze upon the people that matter to you more than anyone else in the world.

These girls are my very heart.

And being with my sweet grandbabies each day was just the icing on the cake!

Chuck and I took both our moms with us. They have always been friends and since they are now both widows it was a real treat for us to bring them along on our vacation. They were so good we told them they could come with us next time too!

One of the highlights of the trip for me was finding the house my grandparents lived in. When I was a little girl my family used to make the trip from North Dakota to Florida to visit them every year and I have so many fond memories of it. We used a gps system to find the house and the people who live there now came outside. I told them it used to be my grandparents home and they were so kind. They even invited me inside! They didn’t know my grandparents but they told me the neighbors still talked about my grandfather and what a kind and helpful man he was. In fact, he was known in the neighborhood as “the sprinkler man” because he was always helping people fix their sprinklers and plumbing. I loved hearing that.

So this vacation was everything I hoped it to be. If I could have changed anything at all it would have been to make it be just a little bit longer. I feel deep in my spirit that this is going to be a year of difficult challenges for me. I believe that I will be drawing on the reservoir of memories we built for many months to come. And I am so thankful for this week we had. We plan to do more things like this in the years to come, God willing.