Simple Things Bring Joy

The night before I needed to run some errands my sweet daughter messaged me.  She volunteered to chauffeur me in case there were no parking places or just to spend time together.  Wow!  What an unexpected blessing for this mama.

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Sure enough at stop number one, there were no parking places at the doctor’s office.  After dropping me off at the front door my daughter proceeded to look for one farther away in where we dubbed “The South Forty.” By the time she sauntered through the door  I had signed in and was talking insurance.

The wait for the Lab took longer than usual.  Today it did not matter as mother and daughter chattered away.  She told me tales of her family and how a stranger praised my grandson for his manners and character.  The stranger went on to reaffirm my daughter was doing a good job in her mothering.  Even though I knew this it was a beautiful thing to hear someone else noticed it, too.

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Finally I was called back and my daughter adjusted her long stride to match that of my short one.  I dread having bloodwork done because I am what they call “a hard stick.”  Cheerful conversation helped take my mind off of this.  My usually temperamental veins were cooperative and yielded blood easily.  Prayers answered.  Leaving my daughter hurried to deliver her van right to the door.  What a thoughtful daughter.

The remaining errands were routine but still much nicer because they were shared.  I even felt better physically.  Since I was required to fast, she decided a trip through the coffee shop drive through as well as another was in order.  We couldn’t go inside because groceries filled the back of her van.

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All morning we laughed, giggled, shared, and had a lovely time.  Ending in my driveway we settled in the van, talked, drank coffee, and ate miniature biscuits which we dipped in gravy.  My daughter said “you know what would make this perfect? If a deer came into the yard.”  That happens often.  She loves seeing all of the wildlife that grace our land, but I believe deer are her favorite.

It was already perfect for me.  I was happy, peaceful, joyful, and felt loved by my daughter and my Heavenly Father.  He provided this day and time which I really needed.  It was hard to leave the sanctuary of her van and our quality time.

Joy can be found in so many places and things.  For me, joy is spending time with my daughter.  Apparently it was spending time with me for her.  Later that night she texted me to say how much she needed our time together.

She has no way of knowing that while we sipped our coffee that I traveled back in time.  I recalled how close we have always been, my hopes and prayers for her, and realized she is the extraordinary woman I wanted her to be.  She is a wonderful Christian woman and mother.

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Please think about who needs you to bring joy into their lives.  Bless them today.  It doesn’t need to cost you much or anything.  A phone call, offering to chauffeur them on errands, a coffee date, or even sitting in a car chatting might bring them much joy.  It did me.  I am thankful for my daughter everyday.  God is so good.  Isn’t He?

Happy Birthday to my Mother

Today is my Mother’s birthday.  (Happy Birthday, Mama!)  God truly blessed me when He chose me to be her daughter.  She is such an extraordinary person.  I could fill each day’s blog up with her attributes – kind, gentle, giving, savvy, smart, compassionate, loving  – just to name a few.  The best thing about her is that she is a Woman of Faith, a true Christian.  Her beauty shines from within.

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Have you seen the following post from Facebook?  I have seen it several times on my feed.  It claims that just talking to your mother is like getting a hug.  Really?

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Yes, it is true.  I can attest to its validity.  Talking to Mom brightens my day and my mood gets elevated.  We talk multiple times each day.  Do you find the same happens when talking with your mother?  Hopefully you are still blessed with her.

Speaking of talking, the older I get the more I sound like my mother because of the things I say.  I find the things I say could very easily come out of her mouth and probably did years earlier.  As soon as the words leave my mouth I smile. Even a simple “humph” is done with the same inflection.

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Things I have noticed over the years about my sweet mother:

Her skin is soft and beautiful.  I love holding her hand.

She has the most beautiful blue eyes.

My mother always smells good.

She is and always has been a lady.

Family is important to her.

She believes in helping others.

Forgiveness is taught and done.

She is fun.  Her laugh is infectious.

Mom is the glue that holds our family together.

I aspire to be like Mom.  She sets a great example and high bar.  I hope my children and grandchildren will find wisdom in my words and ways as well as seek comfort in me as I do in her.

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Love is shown through everything Mom does.  Nothing is done halfway with her. Whenever I think of the Proverbs 31 woman, my thoughts turn to Mom.  She is always busy doing something for her family, church, or a friend.

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Oh, I’m sure she’s not perfect, but I can find no fault with her.  She is treasured and adored.  I love that she always kisses me goodbye when we leave each other.  Each night we call each other to say “good night, I love you” and each morning to say hello.   A hug to start and end my day!  Just what I need.

I hope your mother is treasured, too.  You by your children, also.  Have you had your hug yet?  I have.  Call your mother or child today and share a “hug”.  It will benefit both of you.

“Dear Grandchild…This is Me” Book Review

Dear Grandchild…This is Me by Waterbrook Press is a wonderful way for grandparents to share information about themselves.  This eighty page hard cover book provides the template for all different things a grandmother might want to let her grandchildren know.  There are even spaces for pictures.
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This is a beautiful book.  The cover is eye catching and the title simple but to the point.  It is a hard cover book so it should last.  There is plenty of room for customizing.  When opened it is flat so writing is easy.
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This delightful book is divided into sections.  Each section (beginning years, middle years, grandparent years, and advice section) starts with a quote and Bible verse and covers a section of the grandparent’s life. They are color coded with several pages of questions.  My favorite part is they each include an envelope to hold letters to grandchildren when they are facing different stages of their life.
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This is an absolute treasure.  I wish I had one from each of my four grandparents.  It is their story in the words and handwriting along with personal letters.  Genius!  Every grandparent should do one for each grandchild.  This would make a lovely gift for any grandparent or grandparent-to-be.
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I highly recommend this book as a loving gift to your grandchildren.  It would make a lovely project for some grandparents.  A book club would be very hands on with this!  It receives a 5 star rating from me.  A copy was provided by Waterbrook but these are my own true thoughts.

Secret Ingredient is Love, Bread Recipes

Do you enjoy cooking and baking?  I certainly do.  There is something about taking a number of different ingredients, mixing them together, and creating something yummy.  A creation that makes the house smell warm and inviting.  Homey.  Love wafts out of the pan.  It is so calming.

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For me baking is a way to destress and also to show my family and friends that I love them. I love it when my parents stop by and I have made a big kettle of soup to share.  It warms my heart when family pops by and I just happen to have made their favorite pie.  Sometimes it lightens their load and gives them a smile if only for a short time.
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Does it work like that for you, too?  Do you enjoy cooking?  Do you have happy memories from Times in your kitchen?   Most people that love to cook and bake have precious, “sweet” memories of time spent in the kitchen.  The women in my family taught me to cook.  I loved being with them and they were always in the kitchen.  It seemed natural that the kitchen was a place I would love.  My mother and hers were the two women who taught me the most about cooking.
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Everyone has something special they make or a special added ingredient that like to toss into their dishes.  If I’m cooking a savory dish, garlic is my secret ingredient.  Even if it’s a smidge, I love garlic.  Now baking, that’s a toss up.   Depending on the dessert I will reach for vanilla or cinnamon.  Mmmmmmmm.  They both smell heavenly.  However, the most powerful secret ingredient is love.  People can tell if you made something lovingly.  My Grandmother always told me “if you cook with love, you will always love to cook.”
God makes sure we have all of the things we need for our daily bread.  He sees that we have money to buy ingredients.  There are cookbooks and family members to guide us.    We have been given the ability to put the ingredients together to make all different kinds of wonderful dishes.  All we need to do is have faith it will turn out and add our secret ingredient of love.
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He has given us every thing we need for faith, too.  We have all of the things we need.  The Bible is our instructional book.  Church is our classroom, and other Christians are there to help.  God has the ultimate secret ingredient . . . Jesus.  There is no greater love.

Best Banana Bread Ever

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1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. oil
3 bananas, mashed
2 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
3 T. milk
1 c. chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350º. Beat sugar, eggs, oil, and bananas. Stir in dry ingredients, nuts, vanilla and milk. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

Sometimes I Wake Up Grumpy….

Are you a morning person?  When the sun lights up your bedroom do you stretch and declare it a glorious day?  Perhaps not and grumble while burrowing under your pillow.  Some people need just 5 more minutes, which often turn into 45 minutes and they are still cranky.

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My husband and I are totally different morning people.  The old joke “Sometimes I wake up grumpy and other times I let him sleep” was written for us.  He loves his sleep and can get a bit irritable if it is interrupted.  After decades of awakening at 6:00 a.m. to go to work, he delights in sleeping “until he’s finished” as he puts it.  Being in the Army has something to do with it, too.

Me?  When the light shines and a wet nosed fur-baby greets me, I am ready to pray and get up.  Thanking God for the new day and safety of the night, I begin my morning prayer before my feet hit the floor.  The older I get the less sleep I seem to need.  Are you at this age yet?

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What is your relationship with mornings?  Are you thrilled with the endless possibilities of the new day?  Scripture tells us in Psalm 118:24 “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” No time like the present.  Get out of that bed and enjoy this gift from Abba.

The trajectory or path your day will take depends a lot on how you wake up or get up.  Have you ever encountered someone so crabby you asked if he “got up on the wrong side of the bed today?” B0B716FE-C11E-4A45-AD80-FD7DCDAC6997 Your and my day begins when we first open our eyes, stretch our arms or legs, and (hopefully) pray.  Then when we hop out (do you hop out or like I do gingerly get out) of bed, we are ready to tackle the day with strength from our Father.

Just because the day started grumpy, doesn’t mean it needs to stay there.  You are able to shake off that bad mood that began earlier.  You have the power.  Use it.  Trade in the frowns for smiles.

I hope you start your days happy and give smiles away generously.  If a cantankerous one slides in, exchange it for a happier one.  There will always be time for napping later.   Use today to bring glory to God.

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Celebrate Dad today!

Troday is Father’s Day.  A day to celebrate fathers and all they do.  We should do this everyday!  Dads give everyday to us.  At least mine does.IMG_3806  I treasure and adore him.

I am one lucky girl to have the amazing dad that I do.  He is compassionate, intelligent, loving, faithful, generous, respected, and so much more than words could ever describe.  A giant in faith he is a true son of God.  Best of all, he came into our lives about a decade after my daddy was called home to be with the Lord.  Dad voluntarily stepped into the role of “Dad” for me and my sister whole-heartedly.  

God, our Heavenly Father, is so good and knows what we need, when we need it.  He put Dad in our lives to help heal that broken spot that was ripped open when Daddy died.  Dad has been a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and grandfather.  God used a bad situation for good.  I am forever grateful.  

IMG_2286Sure there are times I still miss my Daddy.  All girls need their daddies.  I was just twelve years old.
I also miss both of my grandfathers, too.  My paternal grandfather, Granddaddy, and I were particularly close. I was the first born on that side, and yes, spoiled rotten.  Today isn’t about tears and missing them.  It is about the good memories of the time we had together.  The promise of seeing them again in Heaven.  It is a time to be thankful.
So, I am.  Thankful for all of the men in my family.  For the grandfathers, fathers, my hubby, uncles, son, son-in-law, brother, brother-in-law, nephews, and cousins.  You are appreciated and loved even though you may not hear the words.
Happy Father’s Day especially to you, Dad!  I love you and am grateful you are in my life.  To the other patriarch in our family, Uncle Gale, ditto to you!  To my husband, son, and son-in-law, thank you for taking care of me and our family.  I am blessed to have Christian men leading my family.
 Father’s Day should be a day to rejoice, appreciate, be glad, and love.  Enjoy your day!  Don’t forget to spend time with our Heavenly Father, too.   Tell Him how much you appreciate Him.   After all, He is the perfect Father.

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Gardening, Harvesting, and a Recipe

Summer is here.  It is a beautiful season!  Already it’s hot in Southern Indiana.  Are you ready to begin planting flowers or have you done that?  Do you like to garden, too?

Gardening is something that soothes me. Nurturing seeds and seedlings into plants is relaxing and produces resulting that can be seen.  The plants yield vegetables, fragrant herbs, or beautiful flowers.  I love it all.  Do you?  My grandparents on both sides gardened and it is in my blood.

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Of course, it takes care to get the desired results.  I can’t just scatter the seeds and hope everything works.  Seeds must be carefully planted and watered.  Fertilizing or feeding  helps give the plants nourishment to grow strong.  I will want to protect them from things seeking to destroy them by eating them.  Here we not only have bugs but critters like bunnies, groundhogs, and even deer that like to munch on tender young plants.  Most importantly, they will also need sun.  That will be beyond my control.  When the little seeds have everything they need, voila, we are rewarded with plants.

A couple of years ago I purchased yellow squash seeds.  I love yellow squash and have many recipes.  The seeds went in the ground and I made certain they had everything they needed to thrive.  I watered, fertilized, watched, and waited.  The seeds sprouted into three tiny plants.  Wow, I was happy.  They continued to grow and finally the yellow blossoms appeared.

Yellow squash dishes ran through my head for what would be first.  Would I have enough to share with others?  Yes, more blossoms formed.  I was excited.  Finally the flower turned into a vegetable.  Oh, no.  A green zucchini!  The seeds had been mispackaged.  We like zucchini, but not three more plants worth when one had been planted.

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My lesson was you reap what you sow.  I thought I was planting yellow squash but really all along had zucchini seeds.  I had a harvest of something I hadn’t anticipated.  Even though I thought I was doing everything right, one thing at the beginning spoiled everything.

How true is this in areas of our life?  We think we are doing something and put forth all of our energy to it.  When it is finished we find we were off track and are reaping something we had not expected?  It can be accidental like the seeds.  Someone else tripped me on that one.  Perhaps it is known but at the time it doesn’t seem like a big deal.  Ignoring someone in a store or not inviting someone to your party might seem innocent, but what happens later?

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Maybe we think our children aren’t watching how we treat some people, and grow up to mistreat them because we did.   Our work habits are excessive to provide for our family and now our family has no time for us.  Watch carefully what you sow so you don’t reap something unexpected.

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