Today is Sabbath. The local U-Pick community is putting on a huge harvest festival, every weekend until the end of October. There is a corn maze, tractor train, kids events, live music, hot pumpkin donuts and apple cider, vendors, and lots of fresh produce available to purchase.

This is the kind of event I have always wanted to do with my kids and grands. My older grands are only with my son every M-Th (school days/nights) and every fourth/fifth weekend of the month. It makes doing fun things with them on weekends very difficult. This is a good weekend to go. They are with our son and his wife, the weather is good, we have no plans today to go to a small group. I made plans to meet them there for a few hours, and our good friends are coming too, since they consider our kids/grands as theirs also. Sounds like a great day. So what is my struggle?

Today is sabbath. Our sons family and our friends observe Sunday as their day of worship. They attend church, and then Sunday is getting ready for work the next day. I always feel bad asking them to give up their Sunday to try to do these types of things. We’ve bumped heads about it in the past. But now, I feel like I have chosen a family day, outside the home, buying from people who are working to make a living over spending the day with my creator. What I will be doing I feel goes against God’s instructions for Sabbath. I want my father to be pleased with my behavior, not grieved. I want to walk in the blessings of obedience, not the curses of walking in my own ways. I know there is mercy and grace, but I also know about reaping what I sow. In the past, there has been conversation about no one being willing to give up their day off, their sabbath. So, do I resign myself to not getting to do fun family things because no one will give in? Or do I resign myself to doing something uncomfortable to have a family day?

I guess it all comes down to where my priorities are. Family or Yah? It seems like such an easy decision, and yet, it isn’t. It seems I haven’t made God the priority I thought I had. May he show mercy to me as I struggle with my weakness.


The Five Love Languages –

The Five Love Languages – Wikipedia
— Read on

Many years ago, I read this book, and it changed the way I related to people. I began to see how others received love, and I determined in my heart to love them in the way they could understand, not the way I like to be loved.

I saw that my husband and son were both “Quality Time and Physical Touch” people. Our daughter a “Gift Giver and Acts of Service” girl. My mom, a strong “Words of Affirmation”, while my dad was a strong “Acts of Service” guy. Me, I am “Acts of Service and Physical Touch”, although receiving a gift every now and then would be nice too…

Acts of service came pretty easy to me, as well as physical touch and gift giving. The words of affirmation was a challenge for me. In the last few years of my mother’s life (which I didn’t know would be her last at the time), I had to really focus on affirming her. “Mom, you sure do put a lot of love into making a good soup.” “You look really nice in that outfit today.” It was a challenge, but I tried to say something affirming each day (they lived with us for a few years).

That was fifteen years ago. My father lives with us now, and we have the same love language, which makes for an easy relationship with him. With my honey, the exhaustion of a high stress job reduces some of our marital physical touch, but I always try to give him a bear back scratch in the morning, and a big hug when we returns home at night, and then, I put away the phone, stop working and sit and look him in the eye when he wants to share his day with me. When I see my son, he gets a hug and eye to eye conversation. Our daughter gets many care packages from home filled with things she can’t get in Japan and lots of love. I am still trying to figure out our daughter in law and grandkids.

Monday they have a school holiday. I found a website called that has an online quiz to figure out your love language. I may have the kids do that with me and then talk about the concept that because people are different from one another, they give and receive love differently.

When I sit and watch a basketball or football game with my honey, and pay attention and get into it, that says a big I love you to him. When he was growing up, his family watched sports together. Super hard for me, since I see watching tv as a huge waste of time. So, I picked his two favorite teams, the Zags (Gonzaga Bulldogs) basketball and the Minnesota Vikings football to watch with him. I make a big deal out of game time with popcorn, getting cozy on the couch. I get to know the players so I can talk about the game, and I even know the game schedule before he tells me. I learned this because he was lamenting one day that none of the grandkids would just sit with him and watch a game. I asked a few questions and learned this about him.

I highly recommend this and the related books (one about kids love languages, and I think a third). Buy it, check it out of the library. If you want to be a good lover, read this book and then challenge yourself to step outside your box and love others differently. You will become a more balanced person that way. Share what you’ve learned with your loved ones so they can learn too. You can become an excellent lover!

Beautiful moments…

When your grown son reaches his arm over your shoulder during a visit and says, “Love you mom”.

When your grown daughter texts and says, “Can we call? Your grandson has something he wants to show you”.

The moment your husband stops you on a walk, puts his arm around your waist and points out the beautiful sunset.

Receiving a handwritten note in the mail. Even nicer when it is on a sweet, colorful notecard.

The first moment my head hits the cool pillow and my body knows it can finally relax.

The first lusciously creamy spoonful of raspberry mousse.

The varied sounds of the killdeer birds in our presently dirt and rock yard.

Visits from the neighbor’s affectionate Tom cats around sunset. Head butts, sharp claws kneading on your thigh when they are in the lap, when they come running to see you.

Seeing the straw wrapper on my dashboard that came whizzing by my shoulder the other day, compliments of my ten year old grandson, and remembering the laughter that ensued.

Enjoying a day of card making with our twelve year old granddaughter.

Hearing our four year old grandson tell me a story about the ‘Shamberries’ they grow.

When your daughter in law sits and chats with you, and really enjoys it.

Finding out there is another grandchild on the way into this world.

Coffee and a drive with a friend who has a day off of work, who is really more family.

The sweet, juiciness of a home grown strawberry.

Realizing God’s ever protective presence when a car pulls across a road in front of you and you miss them by inches. Or that your open pant leg was just over an active yellow jacket nest, and you were spared any bites.

Those rare talks with a distant sibling.

When something goes right in the building process, and a weight is lifted from your mind and figurative shoulders.

These are a few of the many things that I find beautiful. That bring me joy. That bring me to my knees in prayer and thankfulness to our Creator. Take a moment in the insanity of your day, close your eyes, and bring to remembrance those little things that bring you joy. Your beautiful moments.

Big yawn…

The sky has been gray all day long, with a fine mist falling at various times. The hum of a space heater and the growl of my father’s outdated computer tower have been the white noise for my day of rest.

I spent an hour answering questions in my grandparent’s reflections book that I am filling out for the four grands we currently have, the one in the oven (idiom for our son and his wife’s pregnancy), and hopefully more grands and greats to come. Once my honey woke, we talked politics as he read through the newspaper, then talked about our plans for celebrating the Feasts of the LORD out on our property once we are done building. The smell of Marie Calender’s mushroom chicken pot pies filled the house with warmth as the conversation meandered through upcoming birthday celebrations, the visit we had with friends last night and the ugly clock sitting in our living room that belongs to my father.

My father and I spent a bit of time finishing out one of our Scrabble games. I won, 353 to 322. And then I settled in to do some Bible reading and praying for our children, our grands and the body of believers we call family. My eyes began to feel like sandpaper and I dropped off for a five minute snooze. My honey went upstairs to take a nap, and here I am now, blogging about my uneventful, yet satisfyingly restful day. My mind is at peace. My body is resting up to begin another week.

There is something special about the Sabbath. I have taken other days off to rest, but it is never the same. God meets with his children on the Sabbath in a special way. Try it. It can change your life once you give yourself permission to jump out of the rat race for 24 hours and spend time with the Creator who made you and loves you. Shalom.

My Birthday!

Today is my birthday! I am turning 54 years young. When I am asked what I would like for my birthday, my answer is always, spend time with me. Take me to coffee, come over for a visit, invite us for dinner. I think it was sometime in my mid forties that I came to the conclusion that I really didn’t want people buying me things. I want relationship with those I love. This world has become so anti relationship with hectic schedules, everyone working overtime, gobs of homework, civic commitments and more. I just want to slow down and sit (or walk) with family and friends, face to face. Ask questions, listen, learn and love.

Maybe it’s because as we age, we begin to see our own mortality looming on the hopefully far horizon. Maybe it is because the death of a loved one has clarified what is truly important in life. Whatever the reason, I got to have dinner at a local burger joint with my son’s family on Friday, and I get to have brunch with two dear friends this morning, maybe followed by a walk downtown to visit a local coffee shop and take in the beautiful fall foliage.

What does your perfect birthday celebration look like?

Autumn breather…

It looks like the last time I blogged was late August. That sentence almost rings out in my mind like a private confession of some transgression. Our family was enjoying a reunion, kids and cousins and friends. It was joyous and chaotic at the same time.

The goodbyes were said, tears were shed, and life got back to it’s pre-reunion routine. Somewhat.

Our property is progressing well. The shop is dried in for the winter, although we would still like to get the siding on and the house is being framed. Framing is an amazing process. For days it can look like nothing is happening and then BAM! The walls are up! I can walk through the front door opening, see where the rooms are going to be, and get a glimpse of what the views will be out the windows. The building process has been amazing. There are emotions that I cannot express, that well up inside me when I see what I have planned on paper take shape in three dimensions. It is truly awe inspiring.

I haven’t been involved much for the last month on site. Most of my job has been preparing electrical schematics, shopping lists, reviewing permit inspections, ordering windows, getting insulation estimates and paying everyone. That all changes next week. We have a plumber friend who is going to walk me through the rough in for the house. Soon after that, we will begin setting electrical outlet boxes, switches, etc and pulling wire. After that, the workers will start siding both buildings, roofing the house and setting the patio awning around the shop. I will then start managing the subcontractors scheduling.

For fun, I take time to pull more plums from the tree, and put together color samples of tiles and flooring and cabinetry and such for the final detailing. Right out of high school I took a college interior design class. I really thought that was the route I would follow, until I clearly heard God speak to me a solid “Nope”. One of a handful of times I have hear a clear voice. I got an A+ in the class, but went to work full time for a newspaper in their advertising department. Paid off my first car, moved into my own place with a couple roommates. Did some growing up, got married, had kids, got divorced, remarried, lived life. Several years ago I went through a home staging course and got a certificate, however the timing wasn’t right then either, and nothing became of it. And so I dabble with my own house(s).

Today, I have filled my belly with a delicious plum Dutch Baby breakfast, and am preparing to get to work pruning the fruit trees down, removing some unused firewood from the yard and moving some plant starts over to the property to overwinter. That’s one nice thing about perennial plants. I can cut off a chunk of the plant at this house, and next spring, when we plan to sell, you won’t be able to tell. And, I will have plants I love for the new place at no cost. Well, sorta no cost. My shoulder hurt for a few days after digging out a chunk of decorative grasses. If I have time, I may even try to get a final lawn mow in.

I hope you have a great day today! Find joy in the little things. Always look for the joy. It helps in dealing with this crazy world we live in.

A whirlwind…

Have you ever been caught up in a whirlwind? I have. My daughter has been visiting with her two little ones for the last month. She has been at the center of my life since then, and everything about my life has revolved around her. My daily schedule has revolved around when she needed my van to go visit lifelong friends. The wind around this visit has swept away any spare time I have, as I have was called upon to watch those sweet munchkins almost daily. Barbecues with family and friends, sightseeing with a friend who came from another country, and trying to keep up with the laundry, poopy diapers and dishes. The apples on my two trees began falling off the branches, seemingly the moment she arrived, and I haven’t had the time to pick them up, let alone preserve many. I finally started calling friends to come pick them, and gathered as many as I could to donate to our local food bank. Next year, I will preserve.

Today, I will tickle the three year old, and chase him down the halls to tire him out for bed. Tonight I will rock the nine month old back to sleep when he startles because he is in a strange place. I will pray for them as we rock. For a good night sleep for them, for him not to be afraid, today or as he grows, for so many things. I will pray that she is blessed with time to visit friends. As we drive them to the airport, I will tell her what a wonderful mom she is, how terrific her kids are, what a great job she and her honey are doing with them. And then, when we have to finally part ways at the airport security line, the tears will flow, cheeks will be kissed, and silent hugs will be exchanged. They will disappear into the masses of people. We will walk back to our car to start the long drive home, which will give us time to process the mixture of emotions we will be feeling. Sadness they are gone for another year or two, happy to have our home and time back.

The whirlwind will have passed. Life will go back to some sort of a slower normalcy. Until the next visit. It was too long a visit, but too short at the same time. We are so grateful though that she comes home, no matter how far between the visits. And in the in between times, there is FaceTime and Skype. Another thing we are thankful for.

May you start a whirlwind of happiness that catches others in it and changes today for them!


Here I am, sitting still while my toes nail polish dries. I only use polish when I have a special occasion to attend. This weekend we have a neice getting married. Most of the family will be there. Sadly, one family is angry with a couple siblings, and probably won’t come so as not to bump into them. Another will be there, but holds a grudge against a couple. Another will be there and is bitter about the whole debacle that set these things in motion.

Family gatherings are awkward with this side. I pray that there can be forgiveness for perceived wrongs and restoration of relationships, but to date, that has not happened. And so we gather. If the conversation comes up, my honey and I try to steer people towards forgiving, letting go of bitterness, resentment and anger.

During my divorce, many years ago, I prayed, and asked God to show me what part I had played in my husband’s discontent and subsequent affair. I don’t remember how the answer came, but the prayer was answered immediately. God reminded me of a humiliating incident that happened during the early years of our marriage. It was completely unintentional, and I responded improperly. I won’t go into details. But I remembered thinking to myself that I would never let him do that to me again, whereas I should have shared my emotions with him and dealt with it immediately. I had hardened my heart towards my husband and was harboring unforgiveness. I repented, asking God to cleanse my heart of the hardness. After, I went to my husband and confessed my sin to him and asked him to forgive me. He flew off the handle, saying I wasn’t to blame, this was all him, and more. My apology was not received. I chose to forgive him for the perceived humiliation, which he never intended, and I was at peace, knowing that I had done the right thing.

Sometime in the past year, I clicked on a Facebook video someone posted. There was a gentleman talking about forgiving. He stated that forgiveness is not for the benefit of the other person, it is for our freedom. He illustrated this by holding a one liter soda bottle in his hand with his arm outstretched. He said that in the beginning, that wrong that we hold onto isn’t a big deal, not very heavy. But hold it long enough, and it becomes a burden, wearying the arm muscles, until cramping begins and eventually it will involuntarily drop from ones grasp. Kinda like those endurance challenges on the reality show Survivor. In order US to be free, WE must let go of the wrongs others may perpetrate against us.

We also need to realize that the person who wronged us may be holding sorrow or guilt in their hearts about the wrong, but is paralyzed or doesn’t know they should ask for forgiveness. Who knows, if our asking for forgiveness for the way we responded to the wrong, may set someone else free to ask forgives for the wrong they perpetrated.

Today, set your heart free by choosing to forgive, even if forgiveness is not asked for. May you come to know the joy of walking in true freedom.


So what does a very sick, type A personality do all day?

Today I spent a chunk of time transferring a bunch of paper clippings to a word document. Our daily paper publishes something called a Daily Groaner. Puns, riddles, jokes. For the last, who knows how long, I have been clipping them and collecting them to have to share with our grands when they visit and to text my son and daughter in law regularly. They truly appreciate a good groaner, and practice them on us regularly when we are together. And once the two of them get started, the puns fly quicker than I can keep up with. Since I am tired of the clippings, they are now filling a 12 page Word document, which I will pull out whenever I am in need of laughter.

I also created a picture collage for our grandson of pictures I took last night at his first appearance in anLittle League All Star game. He didn’t get to play til the last inning. He is the youngest on the team, but has an awesome attitude. Since I have been struggling with wanting to get him a special gift for his upcoming birthday, this proved to be great timing.

Now, you may be wondering, why I went to a baseball game last night if I am so sick. I had to ask myself that very question also. But when a child starts to tear up when you tell him that you probably won’t make the game because an hours drive is a bit much on a work night, it is dang near impossible not to change your mind. And so I went. Armed with my huge down coat, gloves and a wool hat to keep the chill away. I perched away from the extended family, so as not to cough on anyone. My temperature alternated between sweating hot to chilled. I stayed bundled up for most of the game despite the pleasant 75 degrees and sunshine. I managed to get a few pictures, as that is a passion of mine, and stopped only when my phone battery was down to 17%.

To top the fever off, I had figured that since I hadn’t been eating for the last few days, that I should put something into me. I downed a vegan protein shake before the drive there. By the time we hopped into the car to return home, my gut hurt. Real bad. If only I could fart or belch on command like some other members of my family. It was so bad, that when my honey ordered a chicken fingers basket from our favorite fast food place on the way home, I was not willing to eat anything, for fear of making things worse.

They lost their game, but our grandson looked very happy. It is double elimination, and hopefully I will be feeling better before their last game. Was it worth it? Yea, it was. I was going to be miserable no matter where I was, at least I got to bless our grandson by being there.

Back to today: heat packs on the chest and around the neck, warm tea, warm chicken broth, lots of water, a few rice chips and lots of rest. I even felt good enough for a bit to go out into the backyard with the cats and clean out the kids outdoor toy box in preparation for our daughter’s visit with our other two grandsons soon. The weather was mild, it only took thirty minutes, then it was back to the couch.

In anticipation of my honey’s return from work, I have sanitize sprayed all the handles I have touched in the house during the day and spritzed around to kill all those bad germs flying out of my mouth as I cough and sneeze.

Hopefully this summer does not hold any colds or flu for you.

A Gana memory…

My maternal grandmother’s nickname was Gana. Not sure what it stood for, where it came from, but we called her that as long as I can remember. My other grandmother was Grandma in Florida, because, yes, she lived in Florida. We continued using that name even after Florida became North Carolina, then Massachusetts. When she began having great grand children LC the name changed to Gigi, the initials GG spelled out. You guessed it, that stood for great grandma.

I have so many grandmother memories, but today I want to share one specific memory of Gana. At the age of ten, my folks decided she should no longer live alone due to some dizzy spells she had been complaining of. Doctors called it Ménière’s disease, my dad called it asking for attention. She was a highly independent woman. Her mother died when she was in her later teens, her father slipped into alcoholism, she raised her younger sister, putting her through college instead of attending herself. She married and go pregnant, only to have her new husband decide he wasn’t coming home from the war, he’d met a foreign woman. My mother never met her birth father. She remarried when my mother was twelve. By then she had developed a hardened shell after being a single, working mother in a predominately male world. He left after my mother graduated from high school, but kept in touch with my mother, and many years later, I was blessed to meet the man for a meal when he passed through the area. He died soon after.

I was an impressionable pre-teen when she moved in with us. She was always impeccably groomed. She visited a salon once a week to have her hair “done”, which meant curled and styled. Pantsuits were her clothing of choice, pants, a coordinating shirt, matching jacket and shoes, and of course her earrings. She had a huge jewelry box that she let me look through every time I used to visit. I now have it, with all her old jewelry in it. My children played with it, my grand daughters have played with it, and hopefully, the next few generations of girls will also play with it.

Every Friday, she would sit at the kitchen table and do her nails. Old nail polish was removed first, they were shaped with an emery board, then she would soak her fingers to soften the cuticles. An orange stick would push them back. After drying them, new polish was applied. She had two favorite colors, a gentle coral and a gentle mauve, both had a not glitter, but that metallic type luster to them. During the summers, I would often sit and watch the process, and we would talk. She would tell me that I had such beautiful fingers, and that I really should stop biting my nails. She would encourage me to work on my posture by saying that I had a beautiful swans neck and that I really should sit up straighter.

As she aged, and her sight worsened, she had someone at the salon she visited weekly do her nails for her. A few years after becoming a grandma myself, I found myself desiring to do my nails also. Maybe I was feeling old, maybe I was wanting to treat myself, and maybe, it was a way to stay connected to her memory, or all of the above. My grandmother was able to keep her polish nice for a week, why couldn’t I? Oh! Because I garden, clean and do other stuff my grandmother didn’t do. I tied gels a few times for special occasions, only to have to spend the next six months nursing my nails back to health. Recently, a friend introduced me to Red Aspen nail dashes. They are glue ons that look fairly natural. Since we leave tomorrow for a 20 year anniversary weekend trip, I thought it would be fun to have pretty nails. I bought and I applied.

So here’s the rub. I love the way the nails look and feel. They make me feel feminine, which I often don’t feel when I have been on a construction site all day. But, I also feel… fake? Kinda like I am putting on airs. When I see another woman with her nails done, I don’t think she is fake, or haughty, I just love seeing her nails and all the fun things people can do to them these days. And as I am writing this, the answer is already there. My grandmother did it to present herself in a certain way. She felt the need to look professional, confident and strong, even after she retired. It was part of her persona. Women today do it because they love feeling feminine, treating themselves because they deserve something nice too. And so, I am caught battling between two mindsets.

I am going to enjoy the nails for the weekend, but I am not sure if I will wear them regularly. Maybe just for those special occasions when I want that extra feminine touch. Just as my Gana had to be true to herself, I need to be true to myself. I am not my grandmother. I am me, I am Grammi.

May you see something beautiful and strong about yourself today, and embrace it instead of excusing it.

My Gana’s jewelry box.