Thursday, December 24, 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

Little Tree

I decorated sparingly for Christmas, with a small, "Blue Christmas Tree"
 perched in the corner of my living room. 
But I did put out my snow globes and Christmas cards and Nativity. 

With working full-time and trying to do it all, I have come to the realization
that I can't do it all, so I must choose and prioritize.
 I choose to do things that bring me joy
during the Christmas season
Last week I had free tickets to take my two granddaughters to see
"The Nutcracker." It's not something that we do every year. This past Sunday I helped bake cookies and make food gifts with my daughter at her house. The girls watched Christmas movies and nibbled on the goodies and kept their pajamas on all day. The girls
decorated their Gingerbread House and wanted to eat it as soon as it was set!
It was a lot of fun!
Today I helped deliver a few food baskets to needy families. 
To me, this is what Christmas is about.

However, I haven't been completely lazy, mailing out my Christmas cards on time and having wrapped most of my presents by now.

The Stars Up Above

Last Saturday evening a friend and I drove up to the mountain to the Planetarium to listen to a presentation of "The Star of Bethlehem", a historical and astrological view of the times during the birth of our Savior. My friend is more versed in Astronomy, but I am a complete novice and haven't been to a planetarium since I was a child.

It was quite an interesting program, with Biblical passages and bits and pieces of historical events that aligned with the birth of Jesus.

After the program we ventured outside to look at the stars through the telescopes that the astronomers guided us to and pointed out the Constellations visible in the clear, dark sky. Names like Orion and Andromeda. It was quite chilly and I was glad to have worn my warmer coat. Below the mountain we could see the city lights and above, the sky was clear for a winter's night, stars shining brightly.

We walked down the darkened path towards my car, flashlight in hand, having gained new knowledge about Nebulas and galaxies and light years. I am anxious to go back and take my grandchildren.



Sunday, October 25, 2015

God's Masterpiece

When God created the earth he took out his blue crayon and colored the sky. He then found another shade of blue and colored the ocean. He found a brilliant yellow and called it the sun. Black became night. He colored the earth brown. The many shades of green became the grass and the trees. He used the deep purples and violets and pinks and colored the flowers. By now he had used almost all of the crayons, but there were some crayons left; the burnt oranges, the rust reds, the copper browns. So God had a brilliant idea. He would also create different seasons. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. And with the remaining colors God created his masterpiece, Fall.




Fall is my favorite time of the year. The colors are peaking right now, so I try to take advantage of my days off and explore our local nature trails. We also made a side trip to a local Pumpkin Patch. I took these pictures over the last two weekends. 








Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Nail

Have you ever had those days that seemed so out of kilter, when everything seems to go wrong? Yesterday was one of those days. Before I walked out of the door in the morning I heard my phone ring. I didn't answer it in time and had to listen to my messages. Normally, I do not listen to my messages before I go to work, but this one was important. A dear, elderly friend passed away yesterday morning and her husband called to give me the sad news.

Work was keeping me busy and we played phone tag a couple of times before I was able to reach him and offer my condolences.

At lunchtime one of my coworkers informed me that I had a flat tire. I pushed the thought aside because sometimes I can get panicky when things break down, especially since I don't have a man around the house and son-in-laws are usually at work and not available to help in a mother-in-law crisis. And then again, I work with a bunch of women and a busy day is hardly the right time to try to change a tire when there is a lobby full of members waiting to be seen. I adopted my Scarlett O'Hara attitude, "I won't think about it right now, for tomorrow is another day," (also known as "procrastination").

 Finally, close to closing time I called my insurance company, and yes, I had roadside service, so they promptly sent a man to change my spare tire.

 It was a nail.

The man noticed that my other tire was in need of service, and since my engine light had started coming on, I arranged to take my car to Firestone the next morning.

It was a good thing that I did. Apparently, when I had my oil changed  last week something wasn't sealed all the way (I know nothing about cars, so please forgive my vagueness) and the mechanic told me that I had no oil! Engine light...red flag. My daughter told me that I was lucky.

Yes, all because of that dumb nail.

Oh, and to top it off I had two phone calls waiting for me at work regarding a possible compromise on my debit card, which turned out to be false.

I am thankful for that nail.


On our way to Birmingham this past Sunday. It was a beautiful day.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The End of Summer

Labor Day weekend seems to officially mark the end of summer, although the children have been in school for more than a month. My younger daughter and her husband have a camper, so I was thrilled to spend the day at the lake with my grandchildren. For a treat we went to an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. The town itself is right out of a vintage magazine.
The lake was quiet and peaceful. The children had fun riding on the golf cart with their "Paw Paw."
I came home that night and slept well after all the fresh air.






Friday, August 21, 2015

Coincidence or God's Way of Remaining Anonymous

This is a picture of my grandparents, Karl and Anna, in 1923. I never knew my grandfather. He died from cancer a few years after the war, long before I was born. "Oma" lived for another 40 years. I remember a story that my mother told me about my grandmother, a story that could be called a coincidence, but not if you believe in something more. My mother had a picture of herself hanging on her bedroom wall. One night it was storming so badly that the thunderstorm caused the picture to fall and break on the floor. It woke her up. The next day my mother received a phone call from Germany that Oma had passed away that morning. The time difference between Germany and the United States is around six hours. It was around the same time that my mother was awakened by the storm and the fallen picture. She called me in Texas to give me the sad news. Whether this was a coincidence or God's way of remaining anonymous, I will never forget that story.



Friday, July 10, 2015

Ten Places in My Heart

 Here are some random pictures from my files. Some bring a tinge of sadness, some of joy, all of memories stored in my heart.


This is a castle near the German village that I was born in. Every time that we
went to visit my Oma we would pass this view and knew that we were almost home.


When my daughter and I went to Washington DC our very first stop was Arlington Cemetery. We walked to JFK's eternal flame, walked all the way to the top and toured Robert E. Lee's "Arlington House", which he lost during the Civil War and whose heirs were involved in a lawsuit to reclaim after the war; We watched the changing of the guard in awe and silence.
And we walked among the graves; the sky was a perfect blue above the thousands of white crosses.


There is a little cove in the Great Smoky Mountains, Cades Cove, where my spirit comes alive in the untouched landscape of hundreds of years ago.


A fountain in Savannah, Georgia, a beautiful and historic city divided into
squares with gorgeous homes and Southern gentility. We came here on a trip to visit some old friends. I would like to go back someday.


This is a picture of the government housing, or "quarters" that we lived in while stationed in Germany in the 1960's and 1970's. Some of my fondest memories are from my 'Army brat' days, and later, Army wife.


London was my favorite city. I think I was British in my previous life:) We spent four days in London, took a side trip to Windsor Castle, rode on the Underground, and went to see three plays while we were there.


The Mississippi River, picture taken in Hannibal, Missouri. 
My sister and her husband lived here briefly and showed me around (Mark Twain)
Samuel Clemen's hometown. I fell in love with the little river town and was pleased
 to see my niece graduate from high school.



The lighthouse in Biloxi, Mississippi. My husband's family lived on the Gulf Coast and for many years we made regular trips to the coast and rented a condo on the oceanside. Sweet memories of my husband and mother-in-law.

Paris in 1978, my husband and me.


My sweet mother, taken in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, on a trip to the mountains when
she was undergoing cancer treatment. We lost her seven months later.

Summer "Staycation"

Four of my grandchildren spent the night with me this week. I am the "crafty" Nemaw, so I found this
bird feeder idea on Pinterest. It is very simple. Cut up two oranges. Let the children eat the
oranges (which they did). Mix together oats, peanut butter and birdseed and pack it into the oranges. I used some skewers and twine to hang them up. 


We went to a matinee to see "Max" the movie. Wonderful movie.


Afterwards, we walked around to see the fountains.




It turned out to be a beautiful and sunny day.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Family History

I've been so busy these past few months with work and home renovations that I actually do Genealogy research to relax. I know that sounds crazy, but I love digging on the Internet and Ancestry.com to add to the family tree.Some of my latest discoveries are shared here.
I knew of one of my late-husband's ancestors who had fought in the Civil War, but didn't know that we also had two volunteer nurses. Rebecca Lemmon Oleson served from 1862-1865 in Nashville and Chattanooga (100 miles from where I live). She filed for a pension in April 1893 in California. She lived to be 91 and died in 1916. I think it is neat when you can connect history with real-life ancestors. 


Her sister-in-law, who I have written about before, Sarah Plummer Lemmon, also served as a volunteer nurse. Here is an article on her.


                             John Gill Lemmon, an ancestor on my late husband's side.
                                             He was a Union soldier in the Civil War.



Here is his obituary card.


This is my late husband's great grandmother and four of her children. I had never seen a picture of her before. I don't know the date, but her husband remarried in 1903, so this picture was taken before then. She was a handsome woman. She had six children.



This soldier fought for the Confederacy. He is the (5 generations) grandfather on my brother-in-law's family tree in Arkansas. He fought alongside two of his brothers and served for one year in the Confederacy, opting not to reenlist after his year was up.





Monday, June 1, 2015

Grace

My favorite word is "Grace". When my grandchildren get in trouble I tell my daughters to give them some grace. "Not everything is a punishable offense," is my opinion. "You have to pick and choose your battles" is another. When people are annoying or getting on my last nerve I try to give them grace. Like the lady that I waited on this past Saturday who was angry because of waiting for an hour to see a representative. I was the fortunate one to be the recipient of her anger. I let her talk and simply said "I'm sorry that you had to wait so long." I didn't make excuses...it was what it was. Sometimes you have to wait and there's no getting around it. After a few minutes she calmed down. We often make situations worse by telling others what they should feel and that's not our place. The flip side is that we make it about ourselves and it's not. Calm down. Take a deep breath. And sprinkle grace abundantly. I would want others to do the same for me. Have a blessed day!


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Friendships

May has been about friendship. Friends are like a bouquet of flowers. 
And as I get older and I realize how precious time is,
I appreciate my friendships even more.



 I heard from an old friend in her typical bold handwriting, several pages of stationary numbered in the upper right hand corner and signed "Best Friends Forever!"
Just like when we were teen-agers. I've known her since we were 13.



This month I also found an old friend.

She is still married to her high school sweetheart. It's hard to believe it's been 40 years!


Sadly, I said good-bye to a sweet friend who lost her battle to cancer.


                              I had some laughs and a good time with some friends from work.
                               


                                           

                                         I called another dear friend who is recovering from surgery.


   And today I will meet a friend for lunch to 
celebrate her birthday.


                                Friends are truly a bouquet of flowers, each one a blessing.


Pictures

Growing up in my era we didn't take a lot of pictures. Of course, there were the school pictures, which I dreaded, and Mom rarely bought...