Wednesday, November 26, 2008

25 Blessings

I've been challenged to name twenty-five things for which I am grateful. Here's my list in no particular order.

1.The aroma of coffee first thing in the morning.
2.Baking cookies with my granddaughter.
3.The telephone. I would miss so much without my phone.
4.My family. We come from a long line of love.
5.My happy bell place. I love my bell practice sessions. Laughter and music make a good combination.
6.Old pictures that bring back a lifetime full of memories.
7.My country. I love that this nation is able to change it's leaders peacefully with the voice of the people being heard.
8.The Bible. I love the lessons I learn every time I study this book.
9.Water aerobics. It is wonderful to find an exercise that I enjoy and does not make my knees hurt.
10. Chocolate
11. Blogging. I love the community of friends that I have found in Blogland.
12. My washer and dryer. Never let me forget that laundry means I have clothes to wear.
13. Sleeping with the man I have loved for more than forty-seven years.
14. I love the gift of time that comes with being retired. I have time to play.
15. My hearing. I love that I can listen to music and the giggles of my grandchildren.
16. Good books that make me think and carry me to faraway places.
17. God's amazing grace.
18. Long conversations with good friends.
19. A big world full of interesting, beautiful paces yet to be explored.
20. Lilacs, and roses, daffodils, gardenias, sweet peas, petunias ,tulips and all the flowers that make the world so pretty.
21. Eagles soaring high in the sky.
22. Children's drama and music productions, and the people who work so hard to make them possible.
23. Modern medicine and good medical facilities nearby
24. Family reunions.
25.Faith that gives me hope for tomorrow.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pierce Butler

This picture was taken in 1939, the year Pierce Butler died. The baby in the photo is my beloved husband. He is being held by his Uncle Pierce. It was not until the family gathered at my mother-in-law's funeral that I learned the story of why Pierce received his name.

During World War I my husband's grandparents lived in a small town in Minnesota. They, like most of the country, were caught in a patriotic fervor caused by the Great War. When it was learned that the local banker was a German sympathizer many of the townsmen, including Grampa Charles, became very upset. They were indignant that a prominent citizen sympathized with the enemy and decided to teach him a lesson. One night a vigilante group kidnapped the hated German sympathized and took him outside of town where they tarred and feathered the poor man. Grampa Charles ended up in jail for his participation in the incident. A young lawyer in town volunteered to represent Charles. The lawyer was Pierce Butler. Grampa promised the lawyer that if he could get him out of jail then he would name his next son after the lawyer. Grampa was released from jail without being convicted of any crime. A year later Grampa became the father of child number eight. As promised the boy was named Pierce Butler.

A few years later the lawyer was appointed to the Supreme Court by Warren Harding. Pierce Butler served on the court for sixteen years. He was known for his conservative views and was part of a group referred to as the Four Horsemen for their opposition to most of FDR's New Deal policies.

Got any good stories in your family history?

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Tonight our family gathered to celebrate DQ's sixteenth birthday. We had steak, baked potatoes and Caesar salad at the birthday boy's request. Of course we had chocolate birthday cake. I love that my family lives close enough that we can frequently celebrate together.

DQ was adopted into our family when he was three years old. We love this boy and rejoice that he is ours.

How did you celebrate turning sixteen?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Old Pictures

I have been going through old pictures for the past week. It is a bit overwhelming to wade through this treasure of memories. They are stored in boxes, drawers, and old albums. There are at least a million of them, maybe a billion. Some are of people and places long forgotten. Some are priceless treasures with powerful memories. What do you with all of your old pictures? What shall I do with mine? There are just so many of them.

This pictures was made in 1992. It was taken on my mom's last visit here, the visit where she first met her great grandchildren, Ashley, John and Samantha. This one is obviously a treasure that should be passed on to the next generation of my family.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Christmas Cards

For more than sixty years my mother-in-law sent out her Christmas greetings on postcards. She wrote a little note that reflected what was going on in her family and in the world. Her brother the printer made them for her at no cost. Postcards were only a penny each when they began sending these notes in 1941. Reading through them now I see her life unfold. She writes of her boys and how they grew. She writes of the world and how it was. She talks about the joy of grandchildren and the travels she and Bill enjoyed in retirement. At the end she talked about the loneliness of widowhood and her hope for the future. We always looked forward to her Christmas card, eager to see what she had to say each year.

I looked through these cards last week and was stuck by how little the world has changed. Her card from 1952 could have been written this year. She talks about the big changes coming to Washington, about the economy, about climate change, about her hope that the war would soon end, and how she hopes that all the changes will be good for America.

As we go through today's big political and economic changes, I find comfort in knowing that it was all going on in 1952 and we are all still here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lucerne Valley

While going through a box of old pictures this week I found this one that I had never seen before. This is a picture of my husband as a boy with his brother and cousins near his Aunt Ruth's cabin in the desert near Lucerne Valley in California. You just have to love this picture of boys gathered around the skeletal remains of some animal they had found while playing near the cabin.

The cabin was a favorite vacation spot for my husband's family. It was a twenty by forty foot concrete block building with a shady porch and an outhouse that my husband remembers building. There was no electricity, no running water and no neighbors for miles. He and his cousins spent hours roaming the desert. He learned to shoot a rifle there, although the rabbits he tried to hit were relatively safe. He learned to shoot a bow and arrow and then to hunt for arrows all over the desert. At night everyone dragged old mattresses out from the cabin and slept under the stars. It was dark and clear. You could see shooting stars falling out of the sky.
It is a place full of wonderful memory.

Where did you play when you were a child?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Today is my mother-in-law's ninety-eighth birthday. Kay's life was dedicated to her family. She loved her husband and three sons enormously. Her grandchildren were the light of her life. She delighted in them. When they were little she taught them all the songs she had sung to her boys when they were little. She was a wonderful grandmother.

Shortly before my father-in-law died Bill helped her to tape-record all the nursery songs she had sung with the little ones. They are both gone now. We miss them. This recording is a priceless treasure. Here is the voice of eighty year old Gramma Kay singing one of her favorites,Red Wing.

Happy birthday, Gramma Kay.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Sunday is my favorite day of the week because it is church day. I love going to church for all sorts of reasons. I'll talk about yesterday to see if I can explain.
I slipped into a pew next to my daughter and looked around the room and smiled. People I love are everywhere I look. I feel a sense of community and belonging. In the four years since we came here this group of believers has become family. I feel like I am part of a lovely family reunion where all the generations come together to celebrate that we are family. It is a warm, safe feeling. Then the music began and we sang,

Shout to the Lord, all the earth,
Let us sing
Power and majesty, praise to the King;
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name.
I sing for joy at the work of Your hands,
Forever I'll love You, forever I'll stand,
Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.

The music and words began to fill me and seemed to thin out the space between God and me. God felt near. We prayed together. I love to hear the voices of this family when we pray. I think God smiles at our worship.
Yesterday two children were baptized. It was awesome to see this young family dedicate themselves to teaching their children to learning about a loving God and then to hear the congregation promise to help to show these little ones that God is love. It was a moment of sweetness.

After worship service we all met again in the fellowship room. Coffee is an important part of becoming a family. We talk and share life with one another. Yesterday we had something extra, The Christmas Gift Market. This was a chance to see some of the different mission activities people in the church support. Instead of buying trinkets to give as Christmas gifts we are honoring others with a gift to a worthwhile charity. There were all sorts of opportunities to help others in need. I went shopping for all of you, my blog friends. I will wrap up something for each of you to put under our blogland Christmas tree.

I am a Christian. Church helps me to worship the Almighty. I feel blessed.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


This has been an emotional week for our country. It is hard to not be touched by the euphoria and excitement seen over and over again on the faces of people from around the world. It is touching to see the tears of people who have seen an impossible dream come true. There have been spontaneous celebrations everywhere. It is an amazing thing to watch. So much emotion and joy is a wondrous sight

Today I sang in a Veteran's Day program at the local senior citizens center. It was a day meant to honor those men and women who have served our country in the military. At one point in the program we sang an armed forces medley. As we sang the veterans in the room stood to be honored. These men are now elderly. They need canes and walkers to help them move. They are mostly veterans of World War II, men who are proud of their service. Many were overcome with emotion as we honored them and thanked them. One little old man stood with difficulty as we sang the Marine Corps Hymn. He stood as tall and as straight as his frail body would allow and he cried. I missed a couple of notes as I watched this man. This man and the others in the room did what needed to be done to protect and to serve this nation. It is because of what these men have done that we are able to vote. Our celebrations of post-election victory come because brave men and women like these have been willing to serve their country. I wanted to cry with thanksgiving as I watched them.

May we always be thankful for those who have been willing to serve our country.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Almighty God,

Today I am praying for this nation of mine, this country that is my home. I am thankful for this country and all the good things that come to me because I am an American. I love this country. Today we are ending a long, difficult presidential election. I am thankful that this campaign has been fought with words and ideas instead of with war and guns. The words, though, have been painful. This long period off emotional campaigning has left us tired and fearful. I pray that when tomorrow is over we can begin to heal. I pray that we can grant one another grace and forgiveness. I will be disappointed if my candidate does not win, but I promise to pray for whoever wins tomorrow. I will pray that our next president has the wisdom, the courage, and the good health to lead this country to a better place.

God, heal our land. Bless us with grace peace.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

My eleven year old granddaughter celebrated her October birthday last night with a Halloween party. It was great fun. Her friends gathered in their costumes in time for pizza and a few games before heading down into the very scary basement. Her thirteen year old brother and his friends had created a haunted house there complete with the body parts of an old witch. I'm not sure how scary it was, but there were lots of screams and excited kids running in circles. After being thoroughly frightened the kids settled down to watch Michael Jackson in his Thriller. Most of these eleven year olds had never seen it. Then it was time to get flashlights and head out for an evening of trick or treating which was well chaperoned by my devilish daughter and her beau, George W.

I hope you all had a delightfully devilish Halloween