Your opinions requested

July 29, 2009 | My Jottings

Dear Readers,

As I near my one year anniversary of keeping this little blog, I’m thinking about what to change, what not to change, and all of those kinds of profoundly important matters. I would be grateful for your feedback, even (perhaps even especially) if you’ve never left a comment before. And I also would like to say thank you so much to those of you who recently wrote to encourage me about the blog. *Sniff*  :)

In your opinion,

1.  How often would you like to see a new blog entry? Every day? Every other day? Twice a week? Once a week?

2.  Will you still read a blog entry if it doesn’t have a photo? (I read recently that one very famous blogger refuses to read a complete blog post on other peoples’ blogs unless it’s full of photos – if she sees only words she moves on. I thought this a little strange, since I read blogs and books without pictures all the time…but I realize everyone is different.)

3.  What kinds of things do you like to see in a blog? Do you like diary-like entries with details of a person’s day? Do you like stories of events? Do you like devotional-like entries? Do you like funny stories? Sad? Spiritual? Details about family? Do you read the Joys section? Would you like to see an occasional recipe? All of the above?

4.  Approximately how many blogs do you regularly read? Feel free to share what other blogs you like – I always love a good recommendation.

5.  Do you think my blog could use a makeover? Perhaps a new home page with new colors/elements? I know people who have their blogs done over regularly.

6.  Have you ever entered the monthly bloggy giveaway? If not, why not?

7.  Lastly, can you think of any idea/topic you would like to see written about on the blog? I actually have over thirty drafts in the works, (“Organ Lessons,” “Heart Monitor,” “Dixon,” “Druthers 4,” “Yook At Dat Yake!” and “Virginia, My Mom,” among others) but I’d like to know what you’re interested in reading about. Maybe you have a great idea!

I know there are a lot of questions here, but I hope you’ll help me out and offer your thoughts – I value your opinions. You can answer by leaving a comment (it’s really, really, easy to do) or if you like, you can e-mail me by clicking on the words “Contact Me.”

If you would only like to answer a couple of these questions instead of all seven, that’s great too.

I’ll be sharing my bloggy findings soon, but I won’t quote you if you don’t want me to.

Thank you!

Seven Fine Days

July 27, 2009 | My Jottings

We were so blessed to have our daughter Sharon, her husband Chris and their three children come and visit recently. They were here for a week and it went by way too fast.

Life changes in an amazing way when grandchildren are added to it. Somehow they teach us to slow down and savor the moment. They also show us how quickly the years fly by, and how to focus on what’s important with the little time we have left. They have no idea they’re such delightful, effective instructors, but they are.

When grandchildren are part of your life, the things that used to seem boring or inconsequential suddenly take on new weight and meaning.

Watching a seven, five and two year-old dance in the kitchen with wild abandon without a shred of self-consciousness, just for the sheer joy of it, becomes a source of joy itself.

Taking a drive up the shore to have a Butterburger at Culver’s seems like an adventure of mammoth proportions with a king’s feast thrown in.

A simple hug from tiny arms feels like a piece of heaven on earth.

The earnest, repeated singing of “The Life of the Voyageur” becomes a ritual you know will still be intact when these little ones have grown to adulthood. Mr. McBoy is seven and wanted to hear that song too many times to count. I’m planning to sing it at his wedding.

The feminine, delicate voice of a tiny granddaughter brings a little shiver as you ponder that God gave her that voice, and knew it would bring sweetness and happy tears to a grandma’s life.

Fresh, dark red strawberries delivered by a friend, paired with real whipped cream and devoured on the back deck made a summer memory full of juicy faces, smacking lips, childish chatter and an acute awareness of God’s bounty.

Seven beautiful little beings, all of them my flesh and blood, sitting on or around me and listening intently as I read Round Robin, The Seven Silly Eaters, Miss Suzy and Each, Peach, Pear, Plum to them over and over again, makes each minute a prayer that somehow you will touch their lives for eternity.

Seeing your own grown children being loving and wonderful parents brings a sense of gratitude I can’t find adequate words for. All I know to say is, Thank you Lord….thank you….thank you!

There were many fun times as Chris and Sharon’s three little ones played with Jeremy and Carolyn’s four.

Here are some random photos from their visit:

Every day with a grandchild in it is a day to cherish,

Meet the Granddog

July 25, 2009 | My Jottings

Our daughter Carolyn, her husband Jeremy and their four children have welcomed a new puppy into their household.

They already have a nine year-old Black Lab named Clementine – they call her Clem or Clemma. Clem is the greatest dog – she’s smart, calm, loving with the kids, loyal, and black. All the traits for which a person would choose to own a Black Lab. But Clem has had infertility issues her whole life. So in adding this new puppy to the mix, Jeremy and Carolyn may be ministering to those unrequited maternal longings that Clem has been burdened with, but never spoken of.

Enter Francie Nolan. Or just Francie. Or Fran. (If you don’t recognize the name, now is the time to read a great book – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith.)

Francie is their new Chocolate Lab puppy. She’s smart, calm, loving with the four kids, will hopefully prove to be as loyal as Clem, and of course, she is brown. Clem’s maternal bell has started ringing and she has taken Francie under her wing paw and has shown her the boundaries of the yard, where to lay in order to get cool, where to potty, and how to be a beloved canine member of this family. When they nap, Francie snuggles up to Clem and they doze together.

Carolyn and three of their kids brought the new granddog over the other day and after a romp in the yard Francie was tired out and slept on Carolyn’s lap for a while.

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All the children are thrilled to have a sweet new puppy in the household. Their youngest child was napping at home so isn’t in the picture.

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Have I ever mentioned that I love having children? That I love having grandchildren? And I also love having granddogs.

“These are a few of my favorite things…”

1 in 3

My Jottings

One in three – not bad odds for winning a little prize. Jessica, Deb and Ginny were the three readers who left comments about their “druthers,” thus entering them in July’s bloggy giveaway.

I had to smile as I consulted random.org and entered the three numbers. I hit the button and presto, random.org chose comment #1 as the winner. Jessica!

Jessica wins an amazon gift certificate and my thanks for telling us about her Irish druthers. Along with my Scottish and Swiss druthers, I have Irish druthers too, Jessica.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Your druthers…

July 23, 2009 | My Jottings

Every once in a while I’ll put up a post about where I would rather be if I had my “druthers.” It’s not that I’m not grateful for where I am at this moment, but I also like to dream about seeing new places, and wonder on occasion what it would be like to experience life someplace else.

I think I’d always want to come home, but I dream about remote living in Switzerland and Scotland sometimes. I can almost hear the bells around the goats’ necks, or the skirl of the bagpipes on a distant hill. (I always wanted to write skirl - now I’ve done it.)

But this post is your chance to share about your druthers.

If you had your druthers…

1. Where would you visit right now?

2. What would you do there?

I look forward to reading your responses, and will randomly choose a winner from them for this month’s bloggy giveaway! Comments will be taken until Saturday at noon, and the winner will be announced later that day.

Edition 14 – Wednesday Whimsy

July 22, 2009 | My Jottings

“A few blogs have thousands of readers, but never have so many people written so much to be read by so few.”

Richard Wiggins

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Touche. My one year blogger-versary is coming up next month on the 15th. Almost three hundred sixty-five days of blogging my thoughts, laughs, photos, loves, life stories, and prayers. I’m considering whether or not I’ll continue on, and how often I’ll post if I do continue on, and if you are one of the few who check in here regularly, you’ll be the first to know.

In the meantime, thank you for reading!

We’re on a roll!

July 20, 2009 | My Jottings

After much consideration about whether or not we should cover up the beautiful hardwood floors in our formal living room, we decided to do it. We had new carpet installed today.

Here’s a close-up of the sculpted pattern we chose – it’s sort of a winding leafy vine design.

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We wanted the large room to seem a little cozier and not so echoey. We wanted it to seem inviting, a space where people would enter our home and feel comfortable laying down on the floor and rolling around for a while. Here, my husband Michael and our youngest daughter Sara demonstrate:

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Yes, we have a tradition in this family. Whenever new flooring of any kind is installed, we have to lay down on it and roll back and forth from one end of the room to the other. We have even invited friends to come over and roll on our new linoleum or carpet, and no one has turned us down yet. You should try it.

I remember when our friend Kathleen came over and rolled on the new dark green carpet in our old house. And I love the memory of when Ginny made a special trip to come over and roll around on the wood-look vinyl flooring we had installed in our other kitchen.

Today, Michael and Sara had the honors. We hold firmly to this tradition. It has never failed to bring a smile or a giggle, and the Lord knows how much we could all use a reason to giggle these days.  :)

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The next time you have some kind of new floor covering installed, try rolling around on it to christen it. See if it doesn’t make you grin. Or at least bring a smile to the person watching you roll from one end of the room to the other.

It’s good to be a family of solid convictions, don’t you think?

Wall Words

July 18, 2009 | My Jottings

I like to have meaningful and symbolic things around me. Like anyone else, I love photos of loved ones, candid and formal, thoughtful gifts from friends, and words on the walls that remind me of what’s really important.

The older I get and the more sieve-like my memory becomes, the more I need gentle nudges about what to set my mind and heart on. Left to its default mode, my mind often spins and toils about useless things. I will never get caught up with this paperwork. I wonder if I’ll have to have a knee replaced before I’m sixty? I don’t think I fit in with that group. And so on.

I spend a lot of time in my office, since our line of work requires hours of paperwork each week. I have tried to make my office a pleasant, personal space, and I’m very grateful for how cheery and inviting it is. The walls are painted a pale, turquoisey blue, and the window trim and the wooden ceiling are a creamy white. My desk is white and so is the storage armoire. There are huge windows that let in the filtered sunlight, and I can look out at a good-sized yard with a flower garden planted around the trunk of an old maple tree. The peonies in the garden are in bloom now. Several times a day I see chipmunks, rabbits, squirrels, deer, and all manner of birds very close by.

There are many passages in the Bible that encourage us to put words of truth and importance in places where they will be frequently noticed, remembered and meditated on. Recently I put some words up on my office walls. I chose seven words important to me, and sometimes when I’m taking a break from typing I just look up and see them there, speaking reminders to my heart.

These photos were taken in varying shades of very bright or diffused sunlight, with flash and without, so the walls seem like they’re different colors, but they aren’t. :)

 

Peace

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Nothing means more to me these days than the peace that passes all understanding. I am hoping to learn more about the peace that Christ makes available to me if I will cast all my cares upon Him instead of toiling and spinning about them in my thoughts.

 

Joy

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Sometimes joy is elusive if I’m not meditating on the things that are pure, lovely admirable, true, excellent or praiseworthy. I look up from my paperwork Alps and am reminded that Jesus has come to bring me joy.

 

Remember

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I will remember the deeds of the LORD ; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. Psalm 77:11.  Sometimes I just need to be still and remember what God has already done for me. Then I am reminded of how faithful He has been, and can rest in how faithful He will be.

 

Thankful

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Another one of my default modes is complaining. Even if I don’t always voice my complaints, I tend to look at the glass half empty instead of focusing on the riches of my life. It is not a blessing to a parent or grandparent when a child is whiny or ungrateful. It can’t be a blessing to God when I’m not living gratefully. I need the lens of thankfulness so I can look at my life in truth.

 

Love

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I want to cooperate with God so that I become a more gentle and loving person. Being in the presence of people who truly, unselfishly love is life-changing and unforgettable.

 

Family

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What can I say about this word? Just looking at the word family makes the tears fall. When I was fourteen years old I almost died, and surely would have if God had not intervened. But He saved me from an early death and gave me many more years of life, and a family. I think of the husband, daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren He has given me, and I feel overwhelmed. Thank you for my family, Lord.

 

Jesus

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When Mrs. Ruby Greener first taught me about the love of Jesus, I was three years old and in Sunday School at the First Baptist Church of Covina, CA. I believed every word I was taught about His love and power, and still do. For me, there would be no peace, joy, thankfulness, remembrance, family or love…without Jesus.

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3.

Peace, Joy, Remember, Thankful, Love, Family, Jesus.

If you were to bind some words around your neck, write them on the door frames of your house and your gates, what would your words be?

Edition 13-Wednesday’s Word

July 15, 2009 | My Jottings

Boasting is the voice of pride in the heart of the strong. Self-pity is the voice of pride in the heart of the weak.

John Piper

Speaking loudly to myself here,


Things to say thanks for

July 11, 2009 | My Jottings

Our household is busy, noisy and fun these days, full of daughters and sons-in-law and little children. And incorrigible, nervous Schnauzers. Most of the little kids are at the beach right now, digging in the sand and probably not going in the water, as Lake Superior is bound to be chilly still.  I have five minutes to add a new post, and this is what came to mind – things I would like to say thanks for.

1.  Healthy grandchildren running wild and giggling in a big house.

2.  The constant birdsong outside my office window.

3.  Cool summer temps and low humidity – Michael and I say “Good sleepin’ weather!”

4.  Music that brings tears.

5.  Wonderful, generous daughters.

6.  Kind and faithful husband.

7.  Abundance – why others in this world don’t have it, I don’t understand. For now I’m blessed with it – I don’t understand that either, but am saying thank you.

8.  Loyal, lifelong friends.

9.  Piles of books – good reading memories and more to anticipate.

10. Jesus – His grace and truth. Nothing would be the same without Him.

What are the things you say thanks for today?

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