Monday, July 17, 2017

July 17, 2017

Thankful for Blessings
July 17, 2017

The last few weeks, we have been busy with a variety of chores and activities.  It would be easy for me to think about all the work I needed to do to clean my house.  Instead I was excited to do it to prepare for a visit from our youngest son, his wife, and their 5 month old son.

Ron spent time working in the yard.  We had been out of town so much during the Spring, that he had not had much time to take care of things in the yard and garage.  As he would work on things that had to be trimmed back, I would think about how thankful I was for the rains that had come recently and that the drought that had plagued us for a while, was not currently a problem. 

Just the last few days have been packed with activities.  When our youngest son and his wife arrived they said they might just stay until Wednesday or Thursday.  Then they decided to stay until early Friday morning.  We were delighted with the extra time with them.  Our son and his family really enjoyed the back yard while they were visiting.  Our son showed his young son the birds in the yard.  When others in the family enjoy the birds as I do, I am blessed.

Our son in McAllen was having trouble with one of their cars and we offered to let them use my mom's car which had been sitting in the garage too long.  I had planned to get it out and use it just so it could be run for a few days and it worked out better for him to use it.  We agreed to meet Thursday evening about 1/2 way between our place and theirs to deliver the car to him.

We met at a pizza place where we had met a few months ago.  We had a great evening with good visiting and good food.  Friday we were up very early to see our youngest son and his family off as they were headed to visit his wife's grandmother and aunt on their way home.  We played with the very happy baby while they loaded the car and I got the baby to sleep just before they left.   Thankfully they were a long way down the road before the baby woke up.  He was exhausted.

Friday night we had supper with friends and Saturday morning we went to McAllen so Ron could help our son there with some projects around their house.  It was so good to have additional time with them.  It turned out that the three youngest children were to be baptized at church the next morning.  It was too late for Ron to get a substitute for his class, so I drove up there for the baptisms Sunday morning, and after church we went out to lunch and then back to their house so the two children who would be spending a few days with us could pack.

These last few days were overflowing with activities, but they were also overflowing with joy as we rejoiced for the three young grandchildren who had invited Jesus into their hearts and have made Jesus the Lord of their lives.  That does not mean they will instantly be perfect, but it means they will look to God's Word, the Bible, as a guide in their lives.  Just before church started, the 11 year old girl went to do something and I picked up her note pad.  She had notes from the Sunday School lesson and drawings illustrating the lesson.  Her notes were excellent - sentences of truth about God and his blessings.

We are so surrounded by blessings we just sometimes overlook them, or maybe take them for granted, but I am hoping to focus on the good and not the bad.  I seem to be having a little more trouble with my sound processor some days, but I met a man Saturday and we had a rather long discussion and after about 20 minutes I told him about my deafness and the Cochlear Implant.  He was astounded and said he never would have guessed I had any hearing problem.  Discussions one-on-one are when the system works the best.  My talk with him was nice and I did not spend all the time asking him to repeat things.

Life is not without problems and challenges.  My mother went to North Carolina for a granddaughter's wedding near the end of April.  Then she and one of my sisters traveled in that area for an additional week.  She went home with my sister to Idaho.  While there she had trouble with her back and then one additional problem after another.  She is still in Idaho instead of being here in Brownsville as planned.  Thankfully, my sister works in the small hospital in her little town so she knows all the medical people and has been getting Mom the help she needs.  Again, that is a blessing in the midst of Mom's problems.

I hope you are enjoying blessings in your life.  Sometimes we allow the hard things to overshadow the good, but if you aren't already looking for the blessings, please give it a try.

Monday, June 19, 2017

June 19, 2017

How Can Life Be 
Hectic and Wonderful
At the Same Time?
June 19, 2017

The three oldest of the grandchildren in McAllen

A few minutes ago I pulled up the previous posting and saw it had been 2 weeks since I wrote an entry and that one ended with me mentioning that the following 2 weekends would be spent caring for our grandchildren who live about 80 miles away.
 The four youngest and a baby kitten - one of two they have currently
Thinking of those weekends, they were hectic, wonderful, exhausting, relaxing, delightful, and fun.  There are seven children in that family and what fun it was to spend several days with them.  The weekend of June 10, I went to their house on Saturday afternoon.  Our son and his wife had expected to leave early in the afternoon to take a week long trip.  As often seems to happen when any of us have our plans all made, things happen that delay those plans.
 The two youngest boys playing happily together
As I walked in the door my daughter-in-law hollered to me to take a different route through the house because the washing machine had just flooded across my normal path to the kitchen.  They were mopping and setting fans to dry out the area.  Our son was doing some last minute grocery shopping.  When he got home he spent time in the small utility room on the floor trying to repair the washer.  Actually I think by the time they left that evening, he had it working.
 Video game time in the living room
So on that first weekend with the children, I was there from Saturday afternoon until Monday afternoon.  The  children have never been better, and that is saying a lot because they are usually very good.  We must have all been tired because the first day everyone just relaxed.  On Sunday the oldest girl had to be at the church very early.  The rest of us were on time.  Everyone was up early, dressed, fed and ready to go.
 Early morning in the school room
Vacation Bible School started at their church that week and so on Monday most of the children slept a little late, which would help out for the evening VBS.  We had good meals and enjoyed some treats.  We did some cleaning.  It is amazing how much can get done in 15 minutes with 8 people working hard.  One of the girls has been writing stories and she spent time doing that.  The girls played dress up and one played piano while the youngest made up dances to go with the music.  They were all good about doing their chores without having to be reminded.
 The middle girl with her favorite kitten
Monday morning I baked biscuits for breakfast.  Our daughter-in-law had left the freezer well stocked with things to bake while they were gone.  When I started to fix lunch, the oven would not work.  I tried everything I knew to try, but had no luck.  That changed the menus for the next week.
Spaghetti was great (and doesn't need an oven)
Late afternoon Monday their other grandmother arrived and she took care of the children until Thursday late afternoon when I returned to stay until Sunday night.  During my time back at home, I had several appointments and I was trying to finish a quilt top that my friend Dolores was going to have time to quilt for me. 
 Ron helping the little boys with Father's Day project
When Ron and I went out to dinner on the 5th for our anniversary, I had lost my Kindle Fire.  He called the place we had eaten and they had found it and were waiting for me to come get it.  So we returned there for the Kindle Fire and supper.  We had supper with friends another evening.  I worked long hours on my reports for the accountant since I was going to be gone again.
Yummy spaghetti
When I left the office to return to the grandchildren on Thursday I was really rushed.  I stopped along the way to pick up lunch about 3:30 and by the time I got to McAllen, I was sick from my lunch.  Yuck!  Thankfully it passed quickly, but left me very cautious in what I chose to eat for the next few days. 
The boys always have so much to discuss, it is hard to get them to eat!
One of the older boys still has some school work to finish up from their home schooling.  The other of the older boys has been doing some carving and is enjoying it very much.  The children were still being very good and we spent some time working on gift shopping/making for Father's Day since their dad would be home on Sunday evening. 
 Wood carving in the hot garage
Ron came up Friday evening and stayed until Saturday evening but returned that evening to teach his class Sunday morning.  He helped the boys and I helped the girls with their gifts.
Saturday sewing
One of the granddaughters and I spent a lot of Friday and Saturday sewing.  She did a great job on learning how to make a new quilt block and then spent time sewing fabric pictures on paper to make little books.  She got 2 or 3 done and made note cards, too.  Sunday morning the kids were showing their exhaustion from summer heat, VBS. and grandma's visit.  We all did a little cleaning that afternoon and then relaxed.
Note cards made over the weekend
Hearing issues for me always arise.  When we are all in one room to eat, the noise level gets to be too much.  I can't always get the things the younger ones are saying.  At their church, hearing is very hard for me.  I did not go to Sunday school this Sunday.  The teacher is great, but he talks way too fast for me to understand.  The kids were moving much slower this Sunday after evenings of activities.  Most of the week it was 100 degrees or more in the afternoons at their house.  There was almost no playing outside.
She spent a LITTLE time on roller blades, but it was just too hot!
This week looks like it won't be too hectic.  I have one medical appointment and so does Ron.  He has a job or two promised out of the office.  I need to get back to my house cleaning.  Plenty to keep us busy.
Bringing in the mail

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

June 6, 2017

52 Years and Counting
June 6, 2017

Wedding reception June 5, 1965

Yesterday June 5, Ron and I celebrated our 52nd wedding anniversary.  We spent most of the day at the office and then went out to dinner late in the evening.  The celebrations were not fancy.  There were not other friends and family with us, but it was a good day.  I think for most of us, when we celebrate special events, we think back over the past and ponder how we arrived at the point of the celebration.
Ron playing with one of the grandchildren
Ron and I lead a rather quiet life.  Well, as I just typed that, I thought of those of you who may only know us through this blog.  You are probably thinking of the blog entries you have read and are wondering how I can say it is a quiet life with all the things you have read about in the blog.  I, on the other hand, am thinking about evenings like tonight when I came home, spent a little time in the yard filling the bird feeders and bird baths and then at the computer catching up on the mail.  Ron had stayed to work late at the office and I fixed a very plain supper.

We don't attend very many fancy, formal events, but we do enjoy dinner with friends regularly and  small parties with our Sunday School class.  We are a lot alike in what we enjoy socially.  Social events are MUCH harder for me now due to the hearing limitations.  I don't really enjoy large gatherings or dinning in noisy places.  This past Sunday we met friends for lunch.  In all there were 6 of us, in a very noisy, crowded restaurant, so I could hear almost none of the discussion at the table.

When we celebrated our 50th anniversary, we didn't want a big party.  We just wanted a weekend with our children and their families.  Anytime we get the family together, it is a good time.  We love our four sons so much and love seeing them together and listening to them laugh as they share memories.  God has blessed us abundantly over the years.  There have been easy times and hard times.  But through all those times, God has been there and our family has stood together.  I can't imagine my life with out my husband and our sons, and now their wives and children.
 Working on the bed 
Last night we had decided to go to Olive Garden in Harlingen for supper.  As we were closing the office, a storm was blowing in and when we got home, we decided to wait a bit to see if the storm was just blowing over or hanging around.  In a little over an hour it had blown away, just leaving a few huge rain drops at our house and lots of rain at our office.  We headed to Harlingen to find it dry all the way to the restaurant.
 Furniture grandson built from a kit
The last week was busy.  We met our son in Harlingen Tuesday evening and brought his two youngest boys home with us to stay a few days.  We had some fun working on projects.  The older of the two built some wooden furniture for a little house and then started preparing to build the house.  He sanded the pieces and painted some of the objects.  The younger of the boys built a wooden airplane from a kit and got some of the parts painted. 

The boys spent some time with me at the office.  We tried most of the fast-food places in town.  We watched the birds, watched episodes of the TV series Monk, and the boys spent hours playing with Legos.  It was a good time together.  One afternoon while the boys were with me at the office Ron went flying with a friend so that they could take photos of an aircraft carrier being brought into port to be dismantled.  He had a great time and got some good photos.
Aircraft carrier
For almost 2 years now, I have not had any household help.  I have neglected a lot of the chores around the house.  So I started Saturday by giving the living room and library area a good cleaning.  It is so nice to have all the clutter put away and the dusting done.  Now, if I can just keep up doing the other rooms.  I have worked on one of the bedrooms the last few days, but it will still take a while.  I also worked on sorting one cabinet and reorganizing the items in it. 
 Aircraft Carrier heading into port
This blog entry seems to be filled with scattered thoughts and I hope you are able to keep up while I jump from date to date and activity to different activity.  I think in a very recent entry, I talked about going to my niece's wedding in North Carolina.  After that weekend, I returned to Dallas and my little grandson.  Our daughter-in-law Barbara returned home while Mom and my sister Debbie spent a week touring around that part of the country before going to Debbie's house in Idaho.
Mom, Debbie, Barbara
Mom intended to stay at Debbie's until about Memorial Day and then come home.  A couple of weeks ago she hurt her back and has been in severe pain ever since then.  The injury was very much like the one she had 3 years ago where she spent 3 months in North Texas with my other sister, staying for weeks in the hospital and weeks in a nursing/rehab facility.  It looked like she was in for a similar extended stay this time.  But today Mom had a procedure done that they tried in Ft. Worth after the other injury.  It seems to have brought much better results this time.  Mom is doing very well tonight.  Hopefully she will be home before too long - maybe a couple of weeks instead of a couple of months! 
Children's musical

Sunday morning the children's choir presented a musical and it was amazing.  The props were awesome, the kids had memorized lots of lines and music.  I give it an A+!  They were having a good time and their director, a young woman named Debbie, had done an outstanding job with them.  There were close to 20 in the bunch.  The kids with speaking parts had microphones and I could hear a lot of what was being said - not all, but enough to follow the story line.
 Children's choir

I will be spending the next two weekends caring for the grandchildren.  Fun times ahead!

Monday, May 22, 2017

May 22, 2017

Back to Sharing My April
 Away From Home
May 22, 2017

Setting for wedding in North Carolina
As I shared earlier, I had volunteered to spend April in Dallas caring for our youngest grandson when his mom returned to teaching.  I would care for him in the daytime and they would cuddle and love on him evenings and weekends.  I told them the only time I was committed in April was late in the month.  For that a long weekend, I was going to North Carolina for the wedding of one of my nieces.  My mom, our daughter-in-law Barbara, I had gotten our tickets months earlier.

It worked out very well that our daughter-in-law had agreed to go with us since I had to change my flight to leave from Dallas but she was there to help Mom when I was not going to be on my original flight.  We did end up on the same flight from Houston on to North Carolina.  Our flights were scheduled so that we would arrive in N.C. at the airport just a few minutes after my sister who was coming from Idaho.  That was the plan.  Delays on my flight from Dallas changed that, but we ended up all together about an hour later that planned.

The next unexpected problem was a very long delay in getting our baggage, but in the early morning hours, the shuttle from the hotel picked us up and took us to our very welcoming beds.  It had been a long day.  My sister Debbie took the shuttle early the next morning while the rest of us slept in, and she got our rental car and came back to load us and our luggage to drive two hours to Black Mountain, North Carolina where the wedding would be held.

The entire weekend was filled with events of celebration.  We had missed the first one since we did not arrive until late Thursday night, but on Friday evening we attended the rehearsal dinner.  The afternoon was filled with our drive to Black Mountain, a visit with my other sister (mother of the bride) in the beautiful home they had rented, and then an additional drive to the house we had reserved.  Our place was a lovely A-frame cabin in the woods.  It was perfect for our needs.  It was quiet, secluded, deep in the woods, and very comfortable.  A close friend of our daughter-in-law joined us for Friday night.  They had a great visit and talked long into the night.

The rehearsal dinner was beautifully laid out and was a unique experience with sort of a tasting of foods from Spain.  It was good to have time with many of the extended family during that time.  As for hearing, things went pretty well at the dinner.  The tables were long but narrow.  It is hard to hear across a wide table.  Conversations were not loud throughout the room and I was able to converse with the mother of the groom who was seated beside me, and with my mom and sister who were across from us.
Rehearsal dinner
The wedding was Saturday late afternoon, so Saturday, we slept in and spent the day relaxing.  It had rained off on Friday night and all Saturday.  The wedding was outdoors on the top of a mountain.  The rain held off during the wedding.  I doubt I have ever attended a wedding with a more perfect setting.  Where the guests were seated, we had a marvelous view across the tree covered mountains, without a single road, house, or any other man made items.  All we could see was God's beautifully created world.  Rows of mountains faded into the mist.  A string quartet played before the ceremony and everything was lovely.
This little bird came and sat outside my window each morning at the
 cabin and sang a sweet song (rain, fog, or sunshine).

Again, the hearing was fine.  There were no mechanical noises overpowering the ceremony.  A few birds sang.  There were no traffic sounds, just peaceful, quiet, beauty.  The couple had some amazing friends who had traveled from around the U.S. and the world to celebrate with them.  The couple lives in Manhattan.  As for the hearing at the reception, that was a different story.  The room was crowded, the string quartet played, people were louder, and after the meal, a DJ set up with his huge speakers beside our table.
Mom being escorted to her seat for the wedding.
Sunday morning after we took care of things at the rental cabin, we drove back to Black Mountain for a breakfast hosted by my sister Janet, mother of the bride (and Janet's husband).  The gathering of friends and family was fun and lovely. 
  Lovely flowers and candles everywhere
After that, we joined Janet and her husband at their rental and eventually had lunch.  It was a good visit, the bride and groom were there for part of the time, and other family members were in and out.  Mid afternoon, we headed back on the two hour drive to Charlotte, in the rain.
My two sisters
Janet and Debra
We got up VERY early Monday morning to go to the airport.  Debbie drove Barb and me.  Debbie and Mom were going to spend a week seeing more of the area.  What fun!  We just barely made our flight due to slow security screenings.   The flight was good.  Barb and I parted ways in Houston again and I was back in Dallas by about 9:00 that morning.  Our son picked me up and I returned to my fun job as our grandson's loving Grandma.
Debra, Barbara, Mom, Janet, and me (Linda)
I am glad I was not traveling alone most of the time.  Hearing announcements in airports and even on the planes is next to impossible.  As the attendants would give safety instructions, the noise from the engines would cover their voices.  As we would arrive at the next airport they had some important things to say, (like when my flight to Houston from Dallas was an hour late), trying to tell me they were holding my plane for me.  I was the last on to board.
My mom with the bride and groom

It was such a lovely weekend.  It would have been good to stay longer, but hopefully Ron and I can do that some day in the future.  The month long break from my normal routine was nice.  Ron and I missed each other and especially while I was on the two weekend trips, I would think of how much he would enjoy the trips.
Reception dinner setting

Saturday, May 20, 2017

May 20, 2017

Too Much Going on, For
Me to Have Time to Share
May 20, 2017

Royal Poinciana tree in full bloom
Somewhere is the distant past, there was a time that things in my life seemed to go at a snail's pace.  I think that was maybe about 40 years ago, or was it 50?  This blog in many ways was to share about how after I went deaf, my Cochlear implant returned my life to near normal.  During May four years ago, I was deaf and waiting for my Cochlear implant.  Without it, I am sure my life would be a lot different than it is now. 

As the years of usage add up, I find that my early impressions of the Cochlear device have proved to be true.  It is a miracle that someone was able to devise such an amazing piece of medical equipment to allow a deaf person to hear.  It is not perfect, but it sure beats living in a completely quiet world.  Music still is a challenge, but I think there have been improvements.   New or unfamiliar music is too hard for me to process, but old, familiar tunes can often sound almost normal to me.

As the family has adapted to my limitations, they have learned that I can do most of the things I used to do.  Friday morning brought one of the limitations to my attention.  When I remove my sound processor, I have no idea how loudly I am talking.  Sometimes when it is brought to my attention, I realize that I can tell I am straining my voice (but not hearing anything I am saying).  The family has learned to signal me when I get too loud.  This morning, one of our grandsons and I were the first ones up at his house.  I had not yet put on my processor, and as I asked him a question, he took his hand and stuck it out straight (palm down) and lowered the hand.  That is the most common communication the family uses to let me know I am talking too loudly.

Yesterday afternoon I drove to McAllen to attend the ballet recital of a couple of our granddaughters.  We had front row seats in the balcony in the beautiful new Performing Arts Center in McAllen.  It is a lovely facility and the acoustics are amazing.  I could tell when the music was playing, but could rarely pick out the melody.  But that did not keep me from enjoying the time, seeing a great, entertaining, evening of little girls, young ladies, adult women, and a few guys, share their love of dancing with  friends and families.

The girls had taken ballet last year at a different school, and that recital, although well done, showed a different type of dancing.  Our daughter -in-law found a new school for the girls this year and the recital was completely different.  It was happier - more joyful, and more modest in dress and dance.  This was a great place for the girls.  The middle of the three girls dropped out after just a brief time, realizing her talents and joy came from other areas, not dancing, but the other two fully enjoyed their classes and performances.

Since the ballet recital was not over until late, I had gone prepared to spend the night and was glad that I had done so.  There was time to visit with our daughter-in-law who stays on the go all the time, and to chat with all the children.  Our son was out of town.  With all my traveling lately, I have had too little time with this group of grandchildren, but it looks like that will change in the next few weeks.  I may be with them a couple of days at the end of the month and a couple of weekends during June.  We have so much to catch up on.