Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On The Road Again

On The Road Again

He is at it big time - Baby Hodge has started crawling. Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, Route 6 has nothing on him. Hodge is on the move. If you value your life or your coffee table accessories you better be one step ahead.

I’ve either never seen anything like it. Maybe I’ve just forgotten the particulars about the crawling stage, but whew, this bundle of energy demolishes everything in its path. An eight-month-year-old hurricane, he packs the winds of Katrina and Ike combined. He has been know to blow through a house before one can say “supercalifrajulisticxpalidosis”.

Recently at Thanksgiving, I was watching, really watching him, and I marveled at God’s goodness. It appears that God created babies so that we, adults, can see ourselves and our spiritual walks in their little bodies. Precious beyond belief, there is nothing Hodge can or will do that will cause me to disown or leave him. I delight in him. His world is an adventure of discovery. He wants to taste, eat, smell, and experience everything in his path. As parents and grandparents teaching him right from wrong, what is dangerous and healthy for his well-being are part of our responsibilities as parents and grandparents.

That’s how God is with us. Without a relationship and the word of God, as his children in adult bodies, we run around causing chaos and destruction at every turn. Our own little bumper car derby, we put our hands in more pies than we dare to admit. Aren’t we lucky that we have a loving father that picks up after us. And even more so, he saves us from ourselves before we crawl in the fish pond or a burning fireplace. Often is the time that he pushes the things of value out of reach until we are mature enough to handle them.

As Hodge’s wind is tamed by the love and oversight of his parents and grandparents, so, too, are our winds tamed by God in the form of the Holy Spirit himself who leads, guides, directs, and disciplines us as we crawl and then run along the highway of life.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Santa Story - Author Unknown

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?" she snorted.... "Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my Second World-famous cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother,but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school,the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class. Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar
bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat! I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby." The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn't get any change,but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it. Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever
officially, one of Santa's helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going." I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were, ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

May you always have LOVE to share, HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care. And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Isn't This The Cutest Ever!

This is my granddaughter Lily. Isn't she just about the cutest bug you ever saw? She's standing on her front porch in what I assume she's in her Halloween costume. But whatever the occasion, she sure caught my heart.

Last year Jim and I went down to Ausitn to celebrate Halloween with she and her two brothers. What a blast. They live in a neighborhood that is teeming with young families and children, not unlike the area where I grew up in "the olden days". Young families, young children, lots of laughter and good friends.

We didn't go to Austin this year so Lily sent me this picture. I didn't ask why she was wearing a bug on her head but I sure hope it was part of her costume? If not it should be. Wish I could have been a fly on the wall to see her ringing doorbells in that get up.

This year instead of traveling, we opted to stay home and give out candy at our own front door. I didn't wear a costume, but we still had the most Trick or Treaters in years. Seems the holiday is making a comeback, or more likely, my neighborhood is turning over and more young families are moving in. Oh dear! That's good news and bad news. The good news is that we are in a popular neighborhood; the bad news is people my age are moving out. The unanswered question: where are they going? Unfortunately the answer is either they are scaling down, have moved to the home or permanently reside in the cemetary. None of those options sound good to me.

Needing more information, I researched, asking one man why there were so many trick or treaters this year. His response. "Haven't you heard? This is the best street ever. I got a message on my cell phone to come here. Almost every house has a light on!"

Now who would have thought it? I am in the middle of things and didn't even know it! So I'm sticking here for the time being. Maybe next year I'll borrow Lily's bug and be my own bug on the wall. I bet I'm not as cute but, hey, if you don't try, you'll never know.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Greatest Show On Earth

Last year I took Strother to the circus when he was two. Ever since, he has been asking me, on a weekly basis, to take him back to see the animals. I've had to wait a whole year to grant his request.

Now I don't know what it is about little boys and the circus, but they're all over it. The more lions, tigers, and elephants, the better. So when I saw the sign advertising the Shrine Circus I couldn't get to the ticket window fast enough.

Not to worry that I had plans to be on vacation. I only had a one afternoon window to get it in. You can bet I was not going to take a chance on it being sold out.

No worry there. Saturday dawned cold and rainy, but we were not to be daunted. Putting on our jackets and rain gear we sludged our way to the big top. It's not really a big top, it's in the colesium, but we pretend it's a big top. Weighted down with bottles of water for dehydration, purell for protection from the H1N1, a darth vadar sword to turn on when the lights were out, and cotton candy to give us a sugar high, we made our way to the center ring.

This year I outdid myself. My seats were perfect. As the circus parade began I looked around. The stadium was probably half full but the enthusiasm of the children was on full throttle. From an adult's perspective, the costumes were dingy, the animals lacking, and the scarcity of acts and performers appaling. It put a pallor on the whole afternoon.

But from a kid's perspective, it was the greatest show on earth. Strother hooped and he hollered. He laughed and clapped. Turning his darth vadar sword off and on at appropriate times, he "oohed" and "aahed" as each animal passed by. He cheered each performance with the exhuberance of an olympic gold medal run. To him it was a great success.

Big top or small top, colesium or tent, kids like a circus. They don't see what we see. They see what they want to see. Through the eyes of a child, the circus was a great success, truly the greatest show on earth!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Hodge - Podge Day

Recently I had my 5th sip and see for my 4th grandson. The 5th grandchild to have a party over a ten year period, I had almost run out of steam. After four previous celebrations, ten pounds and ten years, it took a lot more energy to get me motivated.

Note that the operative word here is almost. I gutted up and got moving when I realized that time was running out. At six and a half months, he was already sitting up,thinking about crawling. It was time to bite the bullet. If I didn't get on top of it, he would be leaving for college before I knew it. Lucky for me I got on the case in the nick of time.

Weighing my options I remembered the precious baby announcements my daughter-in-law had given to me to send out to my friends. They were still sitting on my desk. Not one to waste a thing, I concluded that saving money on stamps and envelopes was my first priority. Thus came the brilliant idea of sending out the birth announcements and invitation in one fell swoop. I rationalized that this was a much more personal agenda than the evites that were filling up my inbox.

The theme "a hodge-podge day" came into my mind. The baby was named Hodge because his parents thought it sounded really good with Strother, his brother's name. The real reason, of course, is that pulling the whole thing together in one afternoon felt like a hodge-podge to me. I did print up styrofoam cups in blue that said "A Hodge - Podge Day - anything goes." A great hit with the younger crowd.

Everything came together beautifully in spite of my slow start. Hodge was precious of course, smiling and cooing on cue, enjoying the limelight as he showed off his sitting and hand/knee coordination. I couldn't have been prouder.

Lesson learned. Don't put off today what you can or should have done yesterday. If I had not taken the bull by the horns, little Hodge would have been the only grandchild without a Marme welcome to the world. And that would have been a "hodge-podge" travesty.

Welcome to the world little one. We did it!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Is Three Really A Crowd

You've heard it said that two's company, three's a crowd.

I don't know if three's a crowd, but I do know that recently I sat my three grandkids 10,8, and 5, while their parents were on vacation. Let's just say that "Eight Is Enough" says it all.

Not that three was too much. But three takes a lot more energy than two. Now I know why God created the menapause plan. It's his way of protecting children from us women as we age.

Usually I keep my grandkids one at a time and do really well. Sometimes I keep them in pairs and that works too. But this time I got the big dose of three. Let's just say three triples your pleasure and triples your fun, not to mention triples the workload till it's overflowing. I don't see how mothers do it.

Getting ready for school in the morning is a full time job. Lucky for me that my daughter-in-law is super organized. Filling backpacks, drink glasses, homework folders and more takes a home efficiency expert. Cooking in someone else's house is like moving to a new home yourself. You remember. Wandering around the kitchen looking for where you might have put something -then finding it in the most unexpected place. Why it took me three days to figure out how to run the dishwasher. It's a good thing I'm creative. I discovered that coffee cups are a good substitue for measuring cups, and scrambled eggs cook really well on the pancake griddle. By the grace of God, everyone was dressed, bathed, teeth brushed, homework filled, and made it to school on time with snacks to boot

As for the after school activities. My son who is a whiz at the computer typed up all their activites by date with corresponding maps to follow. By the mirale of technology we made every appointment, soccer practice, soccer game, tumbling practice, birthday party, play date and more. Whew - makes me tired to think about it.

But would I trade these six days for the peace and quiet of my own home? Not on your life. Being an eye witness to the loving home they are growing up in and the lifestyle they live every day is a blessing that can't be counted. And the best of all, for a moment in time I was given a beautiful glimpse into the windows of their heart. Watching 5th grade Jack raise the flag and lead the pledge of allegiance as a patrol boy, experiencing Lily's first skating party, sharing ice cream and praying with James at the end of the day are memories I wouldn't trade for all the tea in China.

Is three a crowd? Not really - It's a page in the memory book of the heart of this very tired, but very grateful grandmother!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Anyone Can Be A Blogger

Anyone can be a blog. At least that's what I'm told. Just get a topic, write about it often, find some followers, lead an interesting life and you're set. Sure - easier said than done.

Recently I read two books about bloggers and saw "Julie and Julia" the movie. The books were random selections, the movie intentional. I was so taken with the concept that I vowed to radically change my mindset and dedicate myself to what I love most, writing and grandchildren. How hard can it be? In the movie Julie vowed to blog daily and to make 524 recipes in 365 days. Now that's dedication. I figure if she can do it so can I. After all I have more years on board, which hopefully means more wisdom and surely means more experience.

Let's start with the wisdom part. Already I know writing a blog a day is too big a goal for this grandmother of five. Wisdom 101 has just kicked in. So I'm setting a goal of a minimum of one blog a week with a maximum of two, with permission to skip a week here and there for R&R. I think I can handle that. Giving myself permission to set limits limits is a big key to success, so I'm already on my way.

Now for the experience. Previously the queen of multi-tasking, I find it's easier nowadays to concentrate on one or two things and pack the other things away till later. Days are fairly quiet at my house now, though balancing husband, career, grandkids, mom, and friends sometimes keeps me hopping. Surely adding one more thing to the mix shouldn't be too hard.

So on your mark, get set, go. Generation G is now in session. Keep your fingers crossed. You'll know I'm anyone when I call myself a blogger.