Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Good News

I went to the dentist today for my routine checkup. I heard those wonderful words, “No cavities. Everything looks great. Keep up the good work.” All that flossing paid big dividends today. After leaving the dentist’s office I went to see my doctor for my pre-op clearance. He said I was healthy and everything was ok for surgery. Nice to know that I am healthy enough to have my knee fixed.

Did you get any good news today?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Trunk or Treat

Yesterday we had a trunk or treat party for the children at church. It was so much fun for all the kids. There were little monsters and witches along with mermaids, dragons, a chicken and several princesses. I dressed in my “orange dress” for this party, (I was told that I looked like Cinderella on crack,) and helped at one of the tables. We had an assortment of Halloween crafts and games and a scavenger hunt for the kids, followed by hot dogs and chips Then came the big event of the afternoon, trunk or treating. The church folks had decorated their cars and filled the parking lot. The kids then went from car to car shouting, “Trunk or Treat!” and filled their sacks with goodies. It was a couple of hours of organized pandemonium and great fun. I love that our church lets our kids enjoy the simple joys of this day.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Another life-changing event occurred twenty years ago today. I became a grandmother.

It was a day full of phone calls. Early in the morning my daughter called from Nashville. “Mom, we’re on our way to the hospital. My water broke and the doctor says I should come in now.” I asked her if she was ok and she replied, “Oh Mom, I’m so scared.” Nashville seemed very far away at that moment. I got up and went on to work, making sure everyone knew to come and get me when “the call” came. The call that came first was scary. It was my son-in-law saying they were going to do an emergency C-section because the baby was in distress. “Please pray,” he asked. I prayed. A very long hour later he called again. “We have a little girl. She’s perfect. Laurel is fine. Oh, Sue, I have a little girl and I’m in love.” After I stopped crying I realized I had been taking a patient’s blood pressure and I had just left him sitting there with the cuff around his arm. He laughed and congratulated me and gave me $20 to buy diapers. Then there were lots of happy phone calls to family and friends. What joy! I had a granddaughter. What wonder! My little girl was a mother. Then there were calls to the airlines. I was flying to Nashville to meet my granddaughter. Gary was right. She was perfect.

Now she is twenty years old and she’s back in Tennessee where she is a junior at Milligan College. She is bright, confident, beautiful, and in my eyes she is still perfect.

Happy birthday, Ashley. I love you.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I am counting the days until election day. I am so tired of political ads that spew mud on the opponent and hurl insults on anyone who might support the opponent. I am beginning to feel dirty. According to the ads I hear and read if I vote for the Republicans I must be against finding cures for difficult diseases and I must want the war to continue. Voting for the Democrats means the terrorists will win and I am against family values. What are family values anyway? I think the greatest family value is loving one another and treating each other with kindness and respect. None of the ads I have seen demonstrate respect and kindness toward those with different opinions. I don’t think any of the candidates running in Maryland are evil people. They all seem to have some good ideas and some ideas with which I disagree. I will vote for the people whose ideas seem to most closely reflect my values and opinions. I am hoping for a break in the ugly rhetoric soon.

Monday, October 23, 2006


I went to see my orthopedic surgeon today. He told me just what I expected him to tell me. The cartilage in my knee has two large tears. If I don’t do something the knee will stay inflamed which will lead to arthritis and degeneration. This happened to my other knee and I had to have it replaced six years ago. That was not fun. All I need now is arthroscopic surgery. That is a same day procedure. He will repair the torn cartilage, I’ll be on crutches a couple of days, and then I will be all better. No more knee pain. The success rate is 95%. The main complication is post-op infection, which happens about one percent of the time. There is a remote possibility of a blood clot, less than a one percent probability. I told him to go ahead and schedule the procedure. A procedure sounds less frightening than surgery. I know this is a minor surgery, but it is being done on me, and that makes it major. I am sure I will be fine. I am afraid.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Forty-three years ago today my world changed. I have not been the same person since that day. I became a mother. There are no words that adequately describe what it means to become a mother. There is a part of me that is now a whole separate person and yet still part of every aspect of my being. It is the most wonderful, awesome and scary experience of my life.

Laurel is my first-born. She was this tiny little bundle with huge brown eyes. When I first held her, her eyes seemed to be staring straight into my heart. The wonder of her existence in my arms evoked such powerful, overwhelming feelings of fierce love. I still have that same feeling of overwhelming love when I think about this little girl who has grown into a beautiful woman. She is a wife, a mother, and one of my best friends.

Happy birthday, Laurel. I love you.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Today we received a sweet thank you note from the friends who were our recent houseguests. In the note they said, “Staying with a seasoned couple was good for our marriage.” Now I know that is a compliment, but I also know that seasoned here means old. We have been married forever and have been through a lot of life together. I guess seasoning is just what comes from living a long time. It is nice that someone finds us to be well seasoned.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Door-to-Door Salesmen

Replacing our vacuum cleaner caused me to think back to the evening we purchased our Kirby. We were young newly-weds, living in a small apartment in southern California. One evening a door-to-door salesman came knocking. He was selling Kirby vacuum cleaners. We invited this stranger in and he proceeded to demonstrate the wonders of this cleaning machine. It could do everything from clean my carpet to polish my silver and it came with enough attachments to entirely fill up a large closet. We were sold and paid far more than we could afford for this wonderful machine.

After we moved to Maryland the Fuller Brush man came calling. By then we had a houseful of babies and a little adult conversation was worth the price of his wonderful brushes and cleaning supplies. He came by frequently. We also had a milkman who delivered milk, eggs, bread, sweet rolls and friendly conversation.

Today I cannot imagine inviting a strange salesman into my house. I would be afraid. There is no friendly milkman who brings food and friendship. The only door- to-door salesmen I respond to are neighborhood children selling cookies for their school or scout fundraisers.

When was the last time you bought something from a door-to-door salesman?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

This and That

The house seems a little too quiet tonight. After having houseguests for 10 days it seems a little empty with just the two of us. It was fun to get to know our friends a little better and to spoil their baby while he was here.

This morning at church we celebrated “The Blessing of the Keys.” This is a neat thing our congregation does when a teenager starts to drive. The teenager and an adult friend are called up to the front of the church before the service begins and we pray for their safety as they begin driving. Then they go out together and drive for an hour. They return at the end of service and report on their driving experience. We pray for them again and they are given key chains from the congregation to remind them that they are covered with God’s love. It is a nice thing for the kids. This morning one the teenagers was my tall, handsome grandson. I find it hard to believe he is so nearly grown.

This evening I sat in the bleachers at my eleven year old grandson’s lacrosse game. The air was cool and crisp. Geese were flying overhead in large, noisy vees, making their way south for the winter. There is a touch of red and yellow in the leaves. It is fall, time to enjoy the last beautiful days before another winter moves us indoors. I love the changing seasons.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Vacuum Ceaners

We bought a new vacuum cleaner today. The old Kirby we bought as newlyweds has just worn out. I guess after forty-five years we did get our money’s worth out of it. Do you know how many different kinds of vacuum cleaners are available? It was very hard to decide. Did I need an upright or a canister? Should it have a bag or be bag less? I could spend anywhere from $40 to over $500. What is the difference between a $200 model and a $500 dollar model? A very nice saleslady came to help us, but she really wasn’t much help. She knew about the merchandise, but, well, it really just depended on my personal preference. So many decisions to make! We did buy a Kenmore canister model. It seemed much lighter than our old Kirby and I thought it would be easier to use. I hope it last us forty-five years.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Yesterday I joined friends from my senior chorale to celebrate fall with an Octoberfest. We gathered in a beautiful home overlooking the river for an afternoon of bratwurst, German potato salad, sauerkraut, and, of course lots of German beer. The host, dressed in his lederhosen, grilled the sausage and manned the bar. There was lots of music, easy conversation, and laughter.

I have observed that the older we get the more we seem to enjoy life. We have figured out that life is a wonderful gift and each moment should be savored. Do something wonderful today!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Today my daughter and I were sitting on her back porch just talking and enjoying the afternoon sun. We began to talk about the trip we are planning to California next summer. Her kids want to see Hollywood and the Pacific Ocean. California is the place where I grew up and I want to introduce my grandchildren to my brothers whom they have never met. I said I would like to go to the Church of Christ in Whittier. As I said those words a huge lump stopped my throat, my eyes filled with tears, and emotions flooded over me. I couldn’t speak as the memories poured over me. I grew up in that church. I learned to love Jesus there. I remember the sweetness and purity I felt when I was baptized there at age eleven. I held tightly to my father’s arm in that building as I walked down the aisle the day I was married. Dennis was smiling and so handsome. The building was decorated with yellow roses and filled with family and friends the day we celebrated my parents golden anniversary. They were laughing and happy that day. Then the building again filled with flowers, family and friends at my dad’s funereal. My mom held tightly to my arm and cried. Two years ago we had mom’s funeral there. At age 94 she had outlived most of her friends so the crowd was smaller, but her family gathered and tearfully honored this wonderful woman.

I want to once again visit this little church. It is holy ground for me.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


What did you do this weekend?

This weekend I took my thirteen-year-old granddaughter shopping and out to dinner to celebrate her birthday. I went to three performances of the play. Three of my grandchildren were involved in the latest teen theater production and their performances were stellar! We enjoyed visiting with our houseguests. We enjoyed a pre-theater family dinner for fourteen at my daughter’s home. I got to hear all about my fifteen-year-old granddaughter’s homecoming dance and visit with the nineteen-year-old who was home from college this weekend. We all celebrated with my husband who is part of the scientific team that was just awarded the Nobel Prize for physics. I love weekends crowded to overflowing with happy family activity.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


We have houseguests this week, one of whom is a beautiful seven-month-old baby. I am getting my baby fix. Is there any sound sweeter than the burbling and laughter of a contented baby? Is there anything funnier than a grandfather trying to feed sweet potatoes to a hungry baby? Is there a sweeter smell than a baby fresh from his bath? Is there anything more wonderful than rocking a sleeping baby?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


One of my favorite hymns begins, “Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin; the blood of Jesus whispers peace within.” Then I read the newspaper and watch the evening news. I truly do see a dark world of sin and wonder about this perfect peace of which I sing. Is it possible to really live in perfect peace in a place where terrorists murder innocent children, where a sniper picks a gun and begins shooting just to see how many innocents he can kill? Our world is unsafe and evil is all around us. Must I arm myself and learn how to shoot a gun in order to have peace? Would that make me feel safer or less afraid? Somehow that thought only makes me feel more afraid. I can imagine a scenario where I could entertain the idea of murder, but I have not actually been in that situation. I do not want to prepare to do something that I should never have to do.

Where is peace? I find it only in a faith that transcends the fear, even when I am afraid. I find it in the arms of a good man who loves me even when I am angry. I find peace rocking a sweet baby and holding this innocence close to my heart. I see hope in groups of teenagers working together to help someone less fortunate than themselves. I find faith beside the bed of an old man who is dying but looking forward to what is yet to be.

“Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown;
Jesus we know, and he is on the throne.”

Monday, October 02, 2006

Talking to Strangers

Would you tell a stranger things you would not tell a friend?

My seatmate on our recent flight was a woman just a bit younger than me. When I sat down she was looking at a handful of seashells. She then proceeded to tell me about gathering the shells with her granddaughter and how she missed her extended family. Her significant other had just died very unexpectedly and she was having a hard time coping with life. I heard all sorts of personal details and difficult emotions. My comments were “I’m sorry”, or “That must be hard.” On previous flights I have listened to people share emotions about broken hearts or job loses or difficulties with their children. Why do people tell me all these stories? I don’t know them and will probably never see them again. Is that why? Is it easier to talk to a stranger?

Have you heard some interesting stories from strangers?