A Guestroom and Some Grands

March 31, 2023 | My Jottings

March is supposed to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb. In northeastern Minnesota, March indeed came in like a lion but is still roaring and terrorizing as it goes out and April arrives. Snowstorm after snowstorm has blanketed the ground with multiple feet of snow, causing people to shovel their roofs and making me feel like I live in Narnia.

I have stayed home a lot this winter, reading and slowly putting together a guest room. It’s still in process, but here is where it’s at today:

I’m still deciding on the art to hang above the queen-sized bed, but this space calls my name and I am drawn to the peace I feel in this room. Two adult grandchildren have already slept here, as well as one ten year-old granddaughter, and I’ve issued an invitation to friends afar to come and visit.

Here is the fairly blank slate I started with:

I couldn’t find the exact curtains I was looking for, so I bought flannel sheets from Pottery Barn and Lloyd hung them for me. I have three little green transferware plates in mind to hang on the wall between the new curtain rod and window, a large print of sheep and Scottish hills for over the bed, and there’s a mirror hung on a wall that these photos don’t show.

“Nowhere beats the heart so kindly as beneath the tartan plaid!” said an old Scottish poet, and I guess in my old age I have to agree.

I enjoy books and movies that cause me to think about things deeply, or show that a person can truly change. I watched Tom Hanks in A Man Called Otto a couple of days ago and loved it because of how the main character experienced transformation. I read the book years ago (A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman) and knew the story, but it was such a treat to see a person late in life, deeply entrenched in his rule-enforcing curmudgeonliness, be transformed by the love of a friend. The friend didn’t give up, Otto gradually opened up his heart even though he may not have known he was doing that, and many lives changed. That’s the best kind of story, and one that gives me hope for my own change.

I’ve been told by someone who should know me pretty well that I am incapable of change. What a blow that was, since my heart’s desire is to grow and change in the right direction until my time here is done. I may not be growing as noticeably as I would have when I was young, but I don’t want to stagnate or be stubborn. I want to learn, be transformed more and more into someone who better resembles my Savior, and be pliable inside, even as my body and joints stiffen. “That’s just the way I am” is something I hope to never say, and if ever I do, those of you within an arm’s length can pop me.

My oldest daughter Sharon and her husband Chris went to Dallas recently because the George W. Bush Presidential Center invited her to discuss democracy on a small panel. That was fun to watch.

My middle daughter (“diddle maughter”, as a friend recently introduced hers, so I’m claiming it too) Carolyn is due any day to give birth to her eighth child. She and Jeremy lost Hannah Joy in 2017, so this will be their seventh child still here on earth. I can’t wait to meet my little granddaughter, and wish they would let me in on the name. You’d think they’d have pity on me after all these years and give me the inside scoop, but I have to wait until she’s born along with everyone else. If I could have my druthers she would be Evelyn, but I’ve loved every name they’ve chosen so I know she’ll have a lovely, old-fashioned name.

My youngest daughter Sara has been working hard in nursing school and will graduate as an RN in a couple of months. I’m so proud of her — she has been on the Dean’s List each semester and will be a wonderful nurse. She plans on applying at one of our local hospitals and has already secured a nice apartment of her own nearby.

My daughter Carolyn sent me photos from her new phone yesterday and I couldn’t stop looking at them.

This is the eye of Vivienne:

And Audrey’s eye:

And Miriam’s:

Speaking of “grands”, Lloyd and I will be taking our first trip to Arizona soon. Neither of us has ever seen the Grand Canyon, so we’ll stay in Flagstaff and drive over to Williams to take The Grand Canyon Railroad for one day. We’re hoping the snow in northern Arizona melts before we get there.

There always seems to be so much to share, yet when I finally sit down to type it all out, the rocks in the stream pile up and form a bottleneck. That may be an apt metaphor for my life right now too — I’m trying to remove some rocks to pile on the shore as an Ebenezer of sorts, so the water can flow again.

I hope there are signs of spring where you are,


  1. helen in Switzerland says:

    Hi Julie
    Oh I loved the Otto film too – but was surprised that it was set in the US after reading the book!
    I’m sure you will love the Grand Canyon. We went there over 30 years ago and it was very impressive. We were camping, there was a thunderstorn and woke up in the middle of the night because our tent was literally floating in a lake! I’ll never forget that!!
    Best wishes from over here, where we are almost into spring. I don’t envy you all that snow!
    Love Helen

  2. Nancy Roney says:

    I was on a long plane ride recently and did see Otto with Tom Hanks. I also loved the movie and his neighbor. It was very well done. Same plane ride I saw Ruby’s Choice. Would also recommend this. It is about an older worman who is starting to develop dementia but it does have a heart warming ending. I have been to Grand Canyon once and it is truly incredible and you feel our Creator’s work. Have a great time. Prayers for your new grand daughter.

  3. Just Julie says:

    Helen and Nancy — thank you for stopping in. I’m excited to see the Grand Canyon and will report back. God bless you both, and your families. xoxo

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