Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Will You Be My Hodgepodge?

Hello to you on this beautiful Wednesday morning! Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge. It is hosted each week by Joyce, who would love to have you click on the link and stop by for a visit. You will notice a bit of an 'engagement' theme today, and that's because Joyce's D1 got engaged last Thursday! They had a big weekend of celebration, and I'm just guessing we might be hearing a little bit about the wedding plans as they unfold. :) Her D1 is the one who designed my snazzy new blog header. She's talented and engaged! I'm sending congratulations to Shannon and her fiancé, and their families, as they enjoy the excitement of this special time.
Now, it's time to get started on the HP questions:

1. April 22nd is Earth Day. Are you inspired by nature? In what way?

I am inspired by nature every day. The beautiful beach on Grand Cayman is an inspiration every single time. It is a big, big God who creates this big, beautiful world.
I am inspired by the mountains of Fondwa, Haiti. The beauty of the mountains is matched by the beauty of her people.
The majesty of the Rocky Mountians.
The summer sky over the lake. As my brother says, "that's God showing off." 
And loving us with a power and beauty that takes your breath away.
The colors of fall.
The crisp beauty of a winter day. Over and over again. :)
A sunrise over the farm, that inspires me to stop and give thanks for new mercies each morning.
Another morning photo, snapped with my phone when I backed out of my garage to see this. God is good.
God is present in the big things and the small, the majestic and the minute. He is with us in the light of a fresh sunrise, and in the sunset in the rear view. God is with us.

2. Down to earth, four corners of the earth, move heaven and earth, not have an earthly chance, or salt of the earth...which earthly idiom have you most recently encountered? Explain.

I'm beginning to think there's not an earthly chance that we'll get our dishwasher fixed. See number 4 below.

3. Share one piece of advice you might give a newly engaged couple.

I wrote a post in honor of our 30th wedding anniversary with some of the things 30 years of marriage had taught us. Here is part of the post:
Even after 30 years, I don't come close to being an expert on marriage. Jim and I put a little list together with a few things we have learned in 30 years:
  • don't sweat the small stuff (and really, it's mostly all small stuff)
  • don't keep score
  • do appreciate your spouse
  • do try to react with laughter, not anger
  • the choice between being happy and being angry is yours - you are responsible for your own happiness
  • count your blessings
  • remember to have fun
  • cherish each moment (before you know it, 30 years have passed!)
I read a quote in Reader's Digest today by comedian Cathy Ladman that said, "Marriage is very difficult. It's like a 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, all sky."
You can say that again!

  • To this list I would add pray. A lot.

4. When did you last engage someone to perform a job, task, service, home repair, or improvement? On a scale of 1-10 (ten being the best) how would you rate their work and/or your satisfaction with the job or service provided?

Well, we have had a repair man come to work on the dishwasher several times now. We still have to do this to get it to stay closed during the cycle. So I would have to say not satisfied. Is that a 1?

5. When did you last find yourself engaged in small talk? Are you awkward or an expert or somewhere in between?

I guess it would be at the baby shower on Saturday. We were among friends, though, so it was more like 'catching up' than making small talk.

6.  What was the last historic place you visited?

Truman's Little White House,
and Ernest Hemingway's house, both on Key West when we went cruising in February.

7. The world would be a better place if we just__would act a little kinder than necessary__.

I borrowed this answer from one of my favorite books, Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. If you haven't read it, you should. So good. The entire quote is below. I think it is one of the best rules to aspire to follow. Be. Kind.

“If every person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you wil try to act a little kinder than is necessary - the world really would be a better place. And if you do this, if you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God.” 
― R.J. PalacioWonder

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
JJ Heller is one of my favorite musical artists. She has a new song, with an adorable new video featuring her two little girls. The song is called I Dream of You. It is just right for moms of newborns and newly engaged, and moms who   dream of little ones, and in-between ones, and all grown up ones.
Wherever you go, I want you to know
When I dream, I dream of you.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Christ the Lord is Risen Today Alleluia!

Our Holy Week started out with these three cuties all dressed up for church on Palm Sunday. Hosanna in the highest!
{photo by Darci}

On Maundy Thursday, we had the opportunity to learn about the traditional Seder meal from a United Methodist pastor who was raised in the Jewish faith. Rev. Jill shared some of the traditional foods and rituals celebrated during a Seder meal. Four glasses of wine (grape juice for us) are shared as the meal progresses. Rev. Jill also includes an orange on her Seder plate which symbolizes the inclusion of all people, men and women, in American Jewish society. We learned about the four question, and young Michael was pleased when he searched for, and found, the afikoman. He received a prize for his effort!
After the meal, we shared Holy Communion in the sanctuary, with Rev. Jill and Rev. Greg officiating together.

On Good Friday, Rev. Greg gave the message at our community worship service, which was held at St. Mary's Catholic Church. He shared that the unity of the gospel is far stronger than our differences, and that the power of the cross gives hope to our community and our world. Amen!

Saturday was a celebration of the baby boy expected by Katie and David. We showered her with gifts for the little guy, and had a 'whale' of a good time sharing brunch and advice for the mom-to-be.
{photos by Darci}

Katie (on left) and baby boy are well loved by Mimi, cousin Ben, and Aunts Sarah and Erin. Can't wait to meet him!   

Easter morning dawned with this beautiful sunrise. Easter always makes me think of Sandi's song, 'Was it a Morning Like This'. What an awesome affirmation of the hope and promise of Easter painted in the colors of a beautiful morning sky. He is Risen!
Our alter at church was resplendent with lovely lilies.
Rev. Greg gave a great message entitled, 'Don't Be Afraid.' You can listen to it here.
Darci sent me this photo of Haleigh and Ella on Easter morning, ready for church with the Robisons.
After church, we went to brunch, and were happy to see my friend Ann and her family. Ann and I have been friends since nursery school, and it's always fun to get together. It was good to visit with them and catch up with the activities of their three beautiful daughters.
Another photo of Ann's family with her mom, 'Gigi.'
Bryan, Noah, and Jennifer.
Adam and Courtney.
What? Who took this one?
My brother Ted, his wife Cheryl, and Samantha, Dara, and Evan.
Our whole Easter gang hopes your Easter was blessed!

'Love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.'
~When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dem Bones #TBTStories

I am joining with Jessica, at today, for her inaugural Throwback Thursday Stories link-up. Her idea is to go beyond the 'old' photos, and share the stories behind the pictures. If you have read my blog, you know that I love sharing vintage photos, and this is a perfect opportunity to share and record the stories, the feelings, and the memories those photos invoke. Thanks to Jessica for her great idea, and I hope to be a regular participant. I'm guessing that I will be a little lot more 'experienced' than most of the other bloggers, but I think (hope) there is value in community no matter our age or season of life. (Besides, I always enjoy hanging out with the cool, young moms.)

Speaking of 'experienced', I remember my dear mother-in-law loving to tell the story of one of the grandkids telling her that she wasn't old, she was 'expewienced'.

Be sure to click on the button to visit Jessica and the other #TBTStories bloggers. Better yet, join in the storytelling! It's sure to be lots of fun.
Throwback Thursday Stories
I'm sharing an Easter photo of our five, circa 1995. That means they were 12, 10. 9, 7. and 4. The story behind the photo is that if you look closely, you can see two broken arms. (David and Adam, on the right side of the picture.) And there's more.
There were actually three broken arms that occurred at our house in an eight day span. Our niece, Caroline, spent a lot of time at our house back in the day, and she got things started. The kids were at the house, and I left Jim in charge while I went to a meeting or a grocery run or an errand of some sort. When I returned to the house, there was an emergency room discharge paper on the counter.

That's never good.

Turns out Caroline had fallen jumped out of the swing and broken her arm. (As an experienced mom, I have learned that sometimes the full story doesn't come out until much, much later.)
Five days later, David had a friend over, and the boys were playing basketball in the driveway. There was a flagrant foul which resulted in a bad break just below the elbow (or was it just above?). I should add that the foul was not inflicted by the visitor, but by a family member. Oh, brothers.

After an x-ray, our beloved Dr. Hansen sent us on to Cincinnati where we spent the night at the hospital for a late night surgery to put two pins in his arm. My mom went along to the hospital, while Jim stayed home with the other kids.

Three days after that, Adam was pushed, tripped, thrown off the footstool. I knew the arm was broken, and I couldn't. even. do it.

There were tears. His. And mine.

And I sent Jim with him to the ER. Because I couldn't. How could three kids break arms at our house? In eight days? Oh, brothers, and swings, and cousins, and fouls, and tripping, and kids. will. be. kids.
Annnnddd….a week later, we left for spring break at the beach. With two broken arms. I wanted to tell people we had been in a car accident.
Unfortunately, those weren't the only broken arms in the family. I could do an entire broken arm post, starting with my own broken arm from a first grade game of Duck, Duck, Goose. I can even show you my cast. (And the kids' casts, too, of course.)

Thankfully, kids' bones heal quickly, and moms learn that, much as we would like to, we can't clothe them in bubble wrap. But we would if we could. That's just how we roll. (Maybe if we were better at rolling, we wouldn't break so many bones!) Lol.

Have a great #TBTStories day!

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Green Friday

In honor of the Masters Golf Tournament, I thought I would do a little 'green Friday' post. My dad is a golfer. He learned to play golf back in his hometown of Fairfield, Connecticut. He earned a little money by caddying for players at the local golf club.

When he went off to college in far-off Indiana, (and by the way, he selected Hanover College from a catalog, and never visited the campus before arriving, bag and baggage, for the first day of class), he played on the golf team. He is there, in the photo, second from right in the front.
I would also add, that he fell in love with the midwest, and my mom, and never went back east. :)

Golf has always been part of his life. He has played golf with friends, family, and strangers acquaintences over the years. At this very moment, he is walking the turf of Augusta National, watching The Masters in person. 

Our family has a little tournament of our own each year, started by my Uncle Bill, and now held in his memory. They divide into teams and it's game on. I think it's fun?!

Here are the teams from a few years ago when the Rusco Cup was played on Mackinac Island.
Adam, Jim, Ted, and Evan...
vs. Andrew, Boomie, David, and Jonathan. With secret weapon Matthew, too.
Andrew gives Matthew a few pointers about golf course etiquette. :)
The Stewart Boys.
Three generations of golfers. My brother, Ted, his son, Evan, and my dad.

My dad and some combination of our boys have played several times in the Pregnancy Care Center outing. Here are Jim, Dad, David, and Jonathan in 2008.
I don't play golf, but I do know that it is a great way to spend time together. On a nice day, a walk around a beautiful course is just the ticket for relaxing. No stress at all. Lol.

It's also such a nice way for multi-generational groups to enjoy the chance to share in a mutual love of the game. I know I am thankful that my boys have had the opportunity to play golf with my dad.
I'm guessing his influence even had a little bit to do with these guys deciding to play 100 holes in one day. God bless those crazy, lovable golfers.

Have a GREEN Friday!

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spring for the Hodgepodge

Today is Wednesday, and that means it's time for the Hodgepodge. I have been hit or miss on my participation lately with trips and projects going on, so I'm glad to be here today. Thanks to Joyce, our hostess, for being faithful in planning this little party. She will be taking a well-deserved spring break next week, but she's participating in the April A-Z challenge (she's an overachiever, that Joyce!) so you can stop by and pay her a visit any day this month.
Here are her questions and my answers:
1. April showers bring May flowers, or so the saying goes. When did you last 'shower' attention on someone or have attention 'showered' on you? Did you love it, or did all that attention make you squirm?

Showering someone means a bridal or baby shower to me. The last time I showered someone in that way was the Texas themed bridal shower we had for my niece, Caroline, last fall.
It was these same ladies, and Caroline's mom, that went cruising together with Sandi Patti. Talk about being showered with attention! A cruise ship is definitely a place where you feel pampered and waited on. After our first lunch with Ryan, he was at our service every time we visited the Lido pool.
We had our own personal butler for our day on Half Moon Cay.
Amin attended to our every need, and even showed off his napkin folding skills by making some pretty flowers for us.
And every night, our cabin stewards left a sweet little towel sculpture to bid us good night. This kind of attention was a treat. 
I will say, though, that there are times when attention focused on me alone does make me squirm. I'm fine with remaining anonymous.

2. Share a favorite 'spring break' memory. Not talking about just the 'college spring break' thing, but any favorite spring break memory you'd like to share. Keep it family friendly please!

I have many memories of childhood spring breaks in sunny Florida with my family and friends. We always drove, of course, in the Ford station wagon that was roughly the size of a barge. You would think that would allow three kids plenty of room to spread out, but we had lots of times where we drew lines between us and complained that someone was 'looking at us' as we drove south. We stopped at Stuckey's along the way, and wondered about the fabulous attractions promoted on billboards all. the. way. We joked about Ruby Falls, and wondered if anyone caught poor Ruby on her fall. I don't think we ever stopped to 'See Rock City', but we did stop at Gatorland one time. Overrated. And kind of icky.

We always drove all night to get there, and this is a favorite classic photo taken at the welcome station at the Florida state line.
My poor mother had endured 12 hours of 8 year old boys saying 'pig yuck' and laughing hysterically, as only 8 year old boys can do. My cousin was along on this trip, and he and my youngest brother were quite a pair. 'Pig yuck!' I still don't know what's so funny about it, but they got going and could. not. stop. All night long. We joke that the photo looks a bit like something out of 'The Twilight Zone.' 

I remember staying at the Seaspray in West Palm Beach, where we were fascinated by the elevator, and had an Easter egg hunt on the pool deck and a scavenger hunt on the beach. We went with a few other families, which was fun.

For several years, we stayed at Wits End Motel on Madeira Beach. It was a small motel, with 'kitchenette' units, and advertised a heated pool and shuffleboard. (Remember shuffleboard?) The best part was that it was right on the beach, small, safe, and clean. My grandparents came with us sometimes, and even my Granny came along once. I found a picture of this postcard online. As you might imagine, this little motel is long gone, and something bigger and fancier occupies this prime stretch of beach.
Here we are in the pool. We didn't know so much about sun damage back then, and it was pretty common to get a sunburn during the first few days in Florida. We heard that vinegar could relieve the sting, and the kids in the group all doused ourselves in vinegar before bed one evening. I don't remember the relief, but I do remember the smell!
 My mom and me by the pool.
 We always attended church on Easter, many times a sunrise service.
One year, the trip included Disney World. If you look closely, my youngest brother has a cast on his arm. This was thanks to a scuffle between brothers the night before we left. We actually waited in the car, all packed, while he got his cast on before hitting the road.
We had lots of fun on those road trips, enjoying the scenery, stuck in traffic, and trying to hold it until the next pit stop. I appreciate our parents taking us on trips, including friends and grandparents, and making special memories.

3. It's National Pecan Month...are you a fan? If so, what's your favorite dish that calls for pecans?

Pecan pie! Many years ago, I was given a couple of special pie recipes by a talented home-town pie baker, and this is one of them. It's one of our favorites.

4.  'Put all your eggs in one basket', 'egg on your face', 'rotten egg', 'walk on eggshells', or 'a good egg'...which egg-spression could most recently be applied to your own life?

Well, it wasn't really my fault, but I did feel a bit like 'egg on my face' when my credit card was declined while we were on vacation. So embarrassing! Turns out, someone had acquired our credit card number (again) and the credit card company had shut it off due to the suspicious charges. Thankful that they keep close tabs, irritated that it happened yet again (this is probably the 5th or 6th time), and inconvenienced because I'm left without a credit card until the new one is processed and received. So annoying.

5.  In my experience____I have learned that you can't sweat the small stuff. And it's all small stuff.

6. What's a  favorite song with the word rain in its title or lyrics?

My Favorite Things.
The Sound of Music is one of my favorites, and this song was the first one I thought of when I read the question. I like my answer because so many 'songs about rain' are sad ones, and this one is definitely not sad. It's a great scene in the movie, and I love the fun and happiness shared by Maria and the children as she sings about her favorite things. 
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

7. What does the word hope mean to you?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I am a little late getting my post up because I'm sharing my morning with these three cuties. My two granddaughters and my great-niece are having fun together playing doll house and princesses, giving treats to Gumbo, and singing songs. And I think that's a great reason to postpone blogging for a few minutes. :)
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