Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Very Important Visitor!

Yesterday Tim's Mom arrived from Florida!  We are so excited to have her visiting us.  She is 93 (she'll be 94 in October).  Tonight after Sarah's piano lesson we talked her into playing a bit for us.  She is a wonderful pianist - but she says since her stroke two years ago that her hands don't play as well as they used to.  She says, "I'll blame the stroke for that!"  

Sorry for the loud background noise.  Our family is not the quiet sort!

Grammy loves all the noise and activity that goes on around here!  She is having sort term memory issues, so we are thankful for the opportunity to have her with us and to enjoy her.

She is a woman who dedicated her whole life to serving the Lord.  She lived with her bachelor pastor brother in their 20's, and kept house for him and played piano at his church.  She was a missionary and she and Tim's dad served in West Africa for 23 years, before coming home for medical issues.  They then served still in the mission.  After becoming widowed, she continued to serve and after remarrying they served as associate missionaries.  They retired in the 1990's and began to serve with a food bank ministry and my mother in law did prison ministry for years.  That is just the formal things.  She often had people staying with her, sometimes for years at a time.  They housed medical students from Germany, also.  She and her husband traveled the world, as he was retired from the Air Force.

She still reads her Bible everyday, and loves to speak of His faithfulness to her.

Tim's sister Esther oversees her care in Florida and is a blessing to the whole family.  We are thankful that Grammy (as we refer to her most of the time) is able to live in her own home, as she has a wonderful caregiver that lives with her.  She told me tonight she hopes to stay in her home for as long as possible.

I've learned a lot from her life over the years.  To choose to rejoice even in hard circumstances (she buried two sons in Africa), to joyfully offer hospitality, to serve other people.

I may be scarce here for the next few weeks, but I hope to pop in now and then.

I appreciate you all and your friendship to me.  I am thankful for all of you whom I have learned so much from as well.  

Have a wonderful holiday weekend for my American readers, and a lovely weekend for the rest of you!

Monday, June 29, 2015

10 Weeks

In 10 weeks our son is getting married.  

We will be having it here on our property.  They have a tent arranged and fancy port-a-potties!  Invitations are designed and ready to be printed and sent out in a few weeks.

They are having the wedding of Kayleigh's dreams.  She has always dreamed of a unique dress.  I won't give it away here, I'll wait to show you!

We will be all pulling together and getting flowers planted in their wedding colors, getting the yard and surrounding areas looking their best, doing some baking, ordering flowers - you know, all the fun parts of putting on a wedding.

We are thankful for their commitment to each other and to raise Kamryn in a loving home.  She's going to look adorable at the wedding, trust me on that one!

We are very happy and excited for them!

Let the fun begin!

Friday, June 26, 2015

The World Is Changing

The signs are everywhere.  Everything has been turned on its head. I think we are in for hard times.  I believe we are going to experience another economic downturn, soon.  I don't know if the end times are here but I think it is very much the end of the 'world' as we know it.

I believe it is time to simply live out our faith.  To notice the neighbor in need - to actually know the neighbor, and to be a help to them.  To care for our families, especially our aging parents, and to help our kid with their kids.  We maybe the sandwich generation caught between our own parents needs, and grandkids, but for Tim and I we are still raising our own children!  Do we feel pressure?  I don't think so.  We just ask God to help us do what He's given us to do for the day, and we do it to the best of our ability.

We all will need to live much simpler lives, and I am thinking that may very well be a good thing.  We all talk about when life was simpler with longing, but how many of us take steps to live that simpler life?  You can step off the crazy train anytime.  Slow your pace down and walk with the Lord daily.  I believe you will find your life richer and fuller.

Tim works at a place where people are all about how much money they can make.  They sign up to work double shifts on the weekends (16 hour days) in addition to their time during the week.  There are many factors that contribute to this, but I wonder when they see their families.  Are they all empty nesters? Divorced? Just wanting to be able to have things?

When hard times come things don't comfort you, the people you have surrounded yourself with and invested time in will be your comfort, and the Lord, of course.

A Bible School teacher said many years ago, "God always prepares you for what He has prepared for you."  I believe it.  Learn to listen to those promptings and senses of direction.

My dear friend Brenda at Coffee, Tea, Books and Me has tons of great Saturday posts about Pantry Living, and other preparedness things.  

I am not negative person, I'm a true optimist, but I don't believe that things will be better soon.  I think though that we can have a very good life in the midst of hardship, if we are focused on the things that really matter.

Honoring the Lord and walking with Him.

Encouraging our families.

Serving others.

These things are real, true, and of value.  These things will bring satisfaction and a contented life.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Garden: New Hydrangea

My steady, reliable hydrangea has suffered the last two years, due to the harsh winters we've had.  No flowers last year and this year there are two blooms on it!

Here are some photos from past years.  You can see why I adore this plant!

I purchased this hydrangea at Costco about 5 or 6 years ago, and this year I bought another one from Costco, a beautiful deep pink.

 I planted it outside, and it seems to be thriving but I don't think I am going to get anymore blooms on it this year.

I decided that I am hydrangea addicted and with our property I could have many more hydrangea plants, so I bought another one two days ago.

It is a Wedding Gown Mophead.  I love it!  Now, to figure out where to plant it so that I can see it from the house!

Are you plant/flower addicted?  What are your favorites?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Weight Loss Update - Trim Heathy Mama

I've not posted a weight loss update since the end of March.  I was at 40 pounds lost then.  After that I lost 3 more pounds during April and then May hit.  Oh my.  I ate off plan quite a bit - more like eating to maintain mostly, but I really hit a plateau.  My second one since starting THM in September 2014.  I went up a few pounds but never more than four.  

When June came I got back on track.  I was happy to see the 43 pounds lost again, and then on Sunday I weighed and saw that I have lost 2 more pounds for a total of 45 pounds.

I am delighted!  It has been challenging at times, but I am learning a lot about sticking with the plan and trusting God in it.  I have a long way to go, but I know this is a way of eating for life.

  You can read about my weight loss journey here, here, here, and here.

45 pounds in nine months.  I was hoping to be further along at this point but I am learning to accept what is and to be thankful!  45 pounds in nine months is awesome!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Garden Photos and A Chat

This past week was a blur.  My brother's family left on Tuesday and on Wednesday my dad fell and hit his head.  He is doing so well.  He came home from the hospital on Saturday, and is resting easily at home.  Mom is doing well, also.

Yesterday, Rachel headed out to the youth conference at Emma's school.  A Dad from our church is taking the week and drove four of the kids from church down.  It has been a real blessing in our daughter's lives, and I know this year will be the same.

I've got a decent cold, so I am taking Mucinex and trying to rest.  Its hard for me to just do nothing, especially when I was a way from home 4 days last week for the bulk of the day.  I mowed yesterday and ran errands, and Kyle and Sarah and I ended up at my parents house for a swim.  I grilled burgers for everyone and we visited for a while then the kids and I headed home.  

It is weird after having 6 kids to just have 2 around.  These two are very good at entertaining themselves, so that is nice for me with my cold.

We've had a lot of rain this past week.  Mostly at night and a few were big thunder and lightning storms, with downpours.  Our grass, gardens, and weeds love it in combination with the heat.

 The Cottage garden is wild. You can't even see the Daylilies that are along the fence because of the Larkspur.  My hollyhocks are being visited by Japanese Beetles. (Frown)

 My Echinacea is very showy this year.

The bees are loving it!  In the autumn, the finch will pay the seed heads a visit!

I'm off to close my eyes for a bit.  Back tomorrow to talk weight loss.  It's been a while since we've talked about it.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Quick Update On My Dad

My and I went in yesterday and he was out of bed and sitting in a chair.  We could tell he felt so much better.  He said better than he had for weeks!

His sodium levels are on the rise!  Normal range in 135-147 and his had been 113.  Last night they were in the 120's.  So that is very good and a direct answer to prayer.

He had some visitors yesterday, and an endless parade of hospital staff.  They are all very kind and working to get him better.  Still, he tried hard to nap in the afternoon and that was hard to do.

He'll been for a few more days, it seems.

Thanks for your prayers.  They have been answered in the way that we had hoped.

Now I am off to breakfast with my man.  It'll be good to see him face to face, after being ships passing all week!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Prayers For My Dad

There was virus running through my parents house while my brother was here.  Monday when my dad and mom both weren't feeling better they went to their GP and he thought my dad had early stage of Pneumonia and started him on a breathing treatment and antibiotic.  My got an antibiotic and is feeling better.  Dad just seemed really weak and this morning my mom texted me to tell me that my dad had fallen in the night and that he hit his head but he seemed okay.  It had bleed some, my dad told her.

I asked if I should come over and see how he was and she said I could come over after taking Rachel to cello.  

Now my dad had been sleeping downstairs in the family room in his recliner because he could breath easier and when he told my mom he was fine, she took him at his word because he is a trained first responder with their local fire company.  

I went downstairs and the first thing I see is that the slate on their fireplace hearth is broken and there was a BIG spot of blood on the rug.  When I cleaned his head (it was still bleeding) there was a lot of clotted blood but what I could see of the cut was deep! 

We got him ready and headed out to the ER.  While there besides dealing with his head they found out that his sodium was really low.  The admitted him into the intermediate ICU until they figure out why his sodium is low.  They want to do a MRI of his brain, but I'm not sure how they will do this with 15 staples in his head!

The doctor wants to get to the root of a chronic cough he has had, in spite of seeing an ENT specialist.  Whatever is going on there could be causing his low sodium.

Tonight I got to see my dad's skull - the doctor let me look at his cut after they cleaned it before putting staples in his head.  It was so interesting, but Wow!  That was my dad's skull!  His gash on his head went all the way to the skull. Crazy!

We see God's hand in it all.  If he hadn't fallen, we would never have known about his low sodium and it could have been very bad.
Thanks for praying for him, and if you are not squeamish you can look below here at the photo of his head AFTER staples.

Poor dad!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Home Keeping: Fireplace

 Those of you who are longtime readers of my blog know I have no fireplace in my house, but I'd love to have one.

Tim surprised me with this gas ventless fireplace a friend is selling. (He and his wife are retiring and downsizing) 

What do you think?  Is it too big for my space?  I think if we buy it, I will have to paint it!  Tim just shakes his head at me!  

I can picture cozy fires in the autumn and winter, with lots of tea and conversation.

My dream fireplace is a big colonial style or one like Cracker Barrel has with the gas flames but it burns real wood!  I'd love a wood burning fireplace but sometimes you have to settle for an alternative and still be happy!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Garden: A Glimpse In Mid-June

The garden is popping with color right now.

 This is my oldest rose and part of it was not in good shape after the last several winters.  We cut it back in a big way, removed the dead parts, and what is left is thriving.

 The poppies were a gift from a friend years ago.  They are a bright spot in the garden.

 It's steamy in the garden this morning.  I took these photos just a few minutes ago.  We had a huge thunderstorm last evening.
 I tossed the hollyhock seeds around the garden last year.  These black ones are the only ones that came up THIS year.  I've started to chase the chickens out of the garden when I see them in there.  They make a huge mess, and eat seeds, I'm certain.  

 Aren't they interesting?  Very unique color for my garden.  I do wish my pink and raspberry colored ones had grown. 

 In this photo you see Poppies, Lychnis, and Larkspur.

 The Black-Eye Susan along the walk way is going to bloom soon!

 The Echinacea is right at the garden entrance and is looking good!  The finches love these in the Autumn.

The Feverfew is plentiful and will grow in tight spaces.

How is your garden growing?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Small Town Friday Night

 Friends treated our whole family to a Lancaster Barnstormers game.  I grew up going to Dodger games in Los Angeles, and the first time we went to the Barnstormers, it was very different.  Don't get me wrong, it's fun, just different.  Lots of interaction with the audience between innings, lots of vendors.  They have a cute mascot Silo, 

Google Images

My great nephew CM had a grand time.  He ate his way through the game.  Burger, fries, popcorn, snow cone.  He and his Mommy are so cute.

Sarah brought her book and kept up with the game and her reading!

 Here is the family along with our friends who treated us to the game.  Kyle is eating fries, I believe.

Kyle and CR had fun eating too.  They had blue tongues by the end of the night.  They loved cheering for the Barnstormers.  Our team lost but one guy hit a GRAND SLAM and got our hopes up!  That was exciting!

Friday night games include spectacular fireworks after the game.

What did you do on your Friday night?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Cello Recital

Last night was Rachel's cello recital.  Last year, Tim and I were not able to be at her recital, as it was planned after we were scheduled for a conference in South Carolina.  

This year I was able to be there, and I am so happy that I was!

Rachel played four pieces last night - two with the accompanist Anna Demme, and two with her teacher Yolanda Mott.  The two played by Rachel and her teacher were written by her teacher!

 Rachel was playing "In Dreams" from the Lord of the Rings Soundtrack.

 Yolanda also played.  This song is from the movie "The Mission."

 Rachel, her teacher, Yolanda Mott, and their accompanist Anna Demme.  We are thankful for these ladies who are so encouraging to Rachel with her music.

We are proud of our girl and thankful for the friends and family who came out to hear her!  It meant so much to Rachel that you came Lorenzo family, Keeney's, Pastor Mike and Jenny, as well as Kay and Nate, and Lindsay and Joseph, and of course, Grandpa and Grandma who support all their grandkids in their endeavors.

Tim and I are grateful that the Lord allowed us to be able to buy her a new cello.  She was so ready for a full size (she had been playing a 3/4 size still), and one with such beautiful tone.

Rachel, we are so proud of you, and love watching your gift blossom!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Friendship: A Bit of Tea and Conversation

Monday the five of us popped out for a bit of tea and conversation. Alicia is my nephew's wife.  She is a dear girl, a homeschooling mama, and a friend.

 Is it just me or is Sarah getting entirely too grown up?  I think she should stop it right now!

 I am so blessed by my friendships.  I am thankful to be a part of these young women's lives.

 I wish someone had mentioned my wind blown hair!  Oh, my.  So typical though.  I am happy to have this photo, in spite of my hair!

 My sweet Mama and I went off plan and enjoyed dessert with the girls.  We all chose these...

It was a great time.


  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. We spent Saturday, doing things around the house, and then we swam. Kyle and Sarah left after that...