Monday, April 29, 2013

'TROUBLE' With a Bow

Madison was 4 months old, as of yesterday.
Could she be any cuter???
And that picture on the left???  She LOOKS innocent enough, but that looks spells Trouble with a capital T. Kylie wasn't feeling well last Saturday night, so I just drove myself over to her house about 7:00 pm and picked me up a little granddaughter to spend the night at our house.  And she was perfect for us.  Played with her Papa, laughed, giggled and ate really well.  Finally went to sleep at 11:00 pm, but woke up at 12:30 from a bad dream.  I went and just rocked her back to sleep and she slept until 9:30 in the morning.  It was perfect.
I may have to do that a little more often.

'Hi -HO, Hi -HO, It's Off to Work I Go'

I'm employed.
I will be a bank teller for Point Bank in the Pilot Point Branch.
But don't even THINK about trying to rob my bank...or I will cut you!
I start training the end of this week for about 2-3 weeks and then I will be in the branch where I will be working full time.  Not the pay I hoped for, but for now, it's a job and one that I am grateful to have.
I will work M-F 10:- 6:00 and half day Saturday, but have one afternoon off.  That, hopefully, will be my temple day.
Prayers answered, financial relief and very appreciative.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Perfect Sabbath Day

Mike and Preston relaxing on the back lawn.

Papa pitches to Preston, who with his mama's help, hit the ball.

Preston and daddy hit it out of the ballpark!!!

Preston and Papa went for a walk to collect flowers.

Preston gave flowers to all the girls.

Papa is showing Preston the green beans in the garden.

A little game of 'chicken' was won by Preston and Papa.

Preston's reaction when he was told it was time to come in the house for dinner.

His night ended with popcorn and a movie.
Besides the fact that Jordan and Lexi weren't able to come, it was the perfect ending of a perfect Sabbath Day.
Church was fantastic.  I wore a new skirt and top which Del said I looked really skinny and pretty in.  That, of course, made me feel like a hundred bucks.  Church meetings were good and associating with the ward members was fantastic.
I made a wonderful dinner - a new recipe that I found on Pintrest and improvised on - chicken, stuffed with 4 different cheeses, asparagus and wrapped in bacon, rolls, corn, baked potatoes, homemade butter pecan cake and brownies and ice cream for dessert.  Everyone just loved it and appreciated all the hard work I went to make it....and then the fun we had in the pictures.  It all made for a really enjoyable and relaxing Sabbath Day.
Love for the Savior, love for my ward family and then love for my little family I love so much.  It sure makes the events of this past week, so much more bearable when I am able to have a day like today to forget the rest.
I have much to be grateful for.

The Week Ends With an Earthquake - in China

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Hundreds and hundreds are dead and/or missing from a massive earthquake in China, that came at the end of an already horrific week of horror and tragedy in the world.  Three huge and terrible stories this week; the bombing in Boston, the explosion in Texas and now, an earthquake in China.  This has not been a good week for an optimist, but has been a huge reality check for anyone living 'not in perfect alliance with the Lord.'  It would cause one to step back and evaluate one's decisions and choices a little more closely and carefully.
But I fear this is only the beginning of many many more of 'these weeks.'

Friday, April 19, 2013

West Texas Explosion

And yet, another terrible tragedy this week.
This explosion happened two days ago and was a little closer to home.
An explosion happened at a fertilizer plant in West Texas killing at least 20+ people and they are still in a search and rescue mode.  There will most likely be many more bodies found.  And although this was not a terrorist act, it is still devastating for the people of West.  News just said 12 confirmed dead, over 200 injured, but they are sure there are more deaths.
And continuing big news from the Boston bombing.  They were able to identify the two terrorist who they felt were suspects in the bombing, and apparently overnight, there was a shootout with them where one of the brothers was shot and killed and the other is now being hunted down.  Another police officer was shot and killed and now the whole city of Boston is shut down as police go door to door on this hunt.  All trains, subways, buildings and partial airport are shut down to all movement.  People have been asked to stay in their homes, not to leave, not to answer their doors and for all businesses to stay closed until this other man is found.
A very difficult week in the world of news.
So sad, the unnecessary deaths due to both terrorism and accident.
So many people mourning their losses.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Boston Marathon - 2013

It was at this moment, the first bomb went off.

This is one of the 'lucky' survivors.  He still HAS his legs.

This survivor lost one of his legs.
At this moment, the statistical count of casualties is 3 dead, 17 in critical/hanging on by a thread, and 144 injured.  One trauma doctor in one of the hospitals claimed there were multiple amputated limbs on over 10 of the critical patients - looked like remains from a war zone.
Yesterday, 4 hours into the annual Boston Marathon, two bombs were detonated at the finish line, causing all the stats that I just gave you.
One of the dead was an 8 yr old boy, who, along with his mother and sister, were waiting for his father to come across the finish line.  His sister lost a leg, his mother, who suffered a brain injury had to have emergency brain surgery and is questionable as to whether she will live.  This is what the father crossed the finish line to find waiting for him.
Who did it?  No-one knows yet.  Too early in the investigation.  One person? Two people?  A group of people?  Terrorist?
And once again, the Nation weeps.
As does the Lord.

Now I Watch and Wait

Some of our tomatoes, green and red peppers, banana peppers and  zucchini.

Eight of our rows of corn.

Green beans, strawberries, potatoes and onions.

Our final corn field - 10 rows, each  50 feet long
As of yesterday, it's all in.  Everything is planted now so that we should enjoy a harvest from late summer through late fall/early winter.  We have staggered our planting so that we harvest for about a 6-8 week time period and not all at once.  I'm exhausted.
Yesterday, I planted 10 tomato plants, 4 red peppers, 4 green peppers, 4 banana peppers, 4 zucchini plants, 2 cucumber and some herbs.  On Saturday, Jordan came over and helped us plant our last crop of corn - Our first crop has finally come in, and over the past 4 days, I have thinned them down to what we will finally produce.  Some of our green beans haven't come up, which I'm disappointed about.  It's in the row that I think Kathryn and I were having a little too much fun that we weren't as attentive in our planting skills.  Actually, the row looks like we were drunk.  But it's okay.  We should still have a good harvest.
Now, the watering, weeding and TLC kicks in for the next 4-5 months.  I've already sunburned, tanned and sunburned again about three times over.
I'm pretty proud of my farmers tan.

Friday Night at Uncle Bob's Farm

Cousins, cousins EVERYWHERE.
We've not attended an Uncle Bob family get together in awhile, for various reasons.  But we thought we would make the effort to go to the annual bon-fire at the farm in Bonham.  It's quite a drive - almost two hours for us, but we knew it would be tons of fun for Preston.  I made a huge macaroni salad and chocolate cake for Mike and Kylie's 5 yr wedding anniversary.  Kathryn came with us too, which was TONS of fun for Preston, and me.  I was really glad she was there.  She had a good time too.
When we arrived, most of the group had gone out in trucks and on four wheelers to see something out on the farm but they came back in about 10 minutes.  During that time, Del and I walked the garden part of the farm - looking at all of the fruit trees, vegetables, grapes and other fruits.  Uncle Bob has worked that land for years and years and really has quite the system down on everything he grows up there.  Del and I were impressed to see everything and hoped in our hearts, that over the years, our land will provide us with all that we have planted and hope to cultivate over the years on OUR farm.
When the cousins came back, I noticed that my cousin, Chad, was there.  I figured I might end up seeing him.  I haven't seen him in over 3 years.  We used to be close; not so much anymore.  But his wife went to awkward lengths to come up and hug me and comment that she hadn't seen me in years and years.  As planned.  I didn't acknowledge Chad for some time, and when I finally did, he was talking with Del.  I thought that was an appropriate time to at least say hello.  We hugged, said 'hi', but I then continued on to meet  up with Kylie who was over with my grandchildren.  It will never be the same, mainly because I just don't feel the same anymore about him or his family.  I feel nothing at all.
The night was full of activities, many of which Kylie took pictures of our little family enjoying.  Good food, good fun and great memories made. Once I was able to put certain situations and certain people in their appropriate compartments of importance, I was able to enjoy everyone else around me.  The evening was a huge success for our little family.  We finally left about 9:00/9:30 p.m. and got home just around 11:00.

For years, I have not mentioned the dissolving of my relationship with my previous employment and my cousin Chad.  I have chosen to remain silent about all the details because I refuse to address them.  It's no longer important, but did help me to realize how much I was obsessed with others opinions and the desire I had to meet others expectations that were not the same as mine.  But all that has changed.  Over the past three years, I think the thing I have learned the most, is that MY opinion, my husbands opinion and the Lord's will is what is most, and ONLY important opinions there are.  I do not try to please certain people anymore.  They do not matter when it comes to my eternal happiness.  Sad realization, but necessary.  I am so much happier now that I have put others opinions, feelings, and influence over me in the past....wayyy in the past.  I was able to function on a level of normal Friday night like I never have before, because I was focused on what really matters to me....MY little family.  I didn't have to pretend to be interested in what musical performance was going on in this stake, or who was performing in this play, or who was starring in this lead role here and there.  It's not important that I be in the middle or center stage of everything in the church.  I take a back seat to a newer generation and enjoy the time I had in my performing years.  I don't need to do any of that to be validated.  I used to feel, at family get togethers, that it was a time to compare each others opportunities to receive 'pats on the back' for being so involved in every road show, every stake or regional musical performance etc...It was juvenile - and very intimidating.  WAS...but no more.  I don't need to sing anymore to be important.  I'm a Bishop's wife - a grandmother, a mom, a visiting teacher and farmer's wife.  That is where I fill my bucket of self worth.  I now understand VERY much, to a new level, what my cousin Shirlene said to me 10 years ago when we first moved here.  At a family gathering, a rare one that she attended because I had just moved here, she pulled me aside just before we were preparing to go home.  I first expressed to her, in my gushing excitement of being around the family, how much fun I had had being with cousins, and my kids being around other cousins.  She was glad, but then gave me some interesting advice that until now, I couldn't imagine to ever be necessary.  She said,' It's always fun to be around family.  But remember that your own little family are the most important people in your life and that even good people, like cousins, can sometimes put unnecessary pressure and opinions that are many times, not yours and not right for you and your family.'  She also said that too many times, she felt that when she had come to family get togethers, that she had felt it had become a 'WHO's WHO' in the performing arts and a 'bragging session' of who was performing in what.  She remains very loyal and focused on her own family and seldom, if ever comes to family get togethers down here.  I understand why.  She doesn't NEED to.  Neither do I.  I am focused and busy enough with the family I am trying to raise that I don't need to try and squeeze in one more activity to attend.  We provide it here, at our own home now.  We don't need to go somewhere else to have fun.  My home is now the place that was mentioned in my patriarchal blessing - 'a refuge - a place where people would want to gather because they would feel the love and the truthfulness of the Gospel within it's walls.'
So, why go anywhere else.?
No need.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I Love to See The Temple

My Uncle Bob is the President of the Dallas Temple.
Yesterday, his secretary called me saying Uncle Bob wanted to meet with me for an interview today, so I went today at 3:00.  We met for an hour where Uncle Bob called me to be an ordinance worker on Tuesday's day shift.  I was honored...and very touched for the opportunity this would allow me and our family.  What a be in the temple every Tuesday serving the Lord.  I am beyond thrilled.
I attended the 4:00 session after the interview and when it was over, Aunt Talmage caught me in the hall and invited me to dinner with her and Uncle Bob in the cafeteria.  I had a bowl of soup while they had a full dinner and we had a wonderful conversation about my daddy's condition, other family and my new calling.  They also invited us out to their farm on the 12th with the rest of their family, so we will be going out with our children to spend some time with them.
The temple calling will be a 2 year calling to start and then I will be re-interviewed every two years to see if anything has changed to merit me being job schedule, time restraints etc... So, for two years, I will be in the temple every Tuesday.
Life just keeps getting better and better.

In the Early Morning Hours

I don't know why neither of us could sleep, but yesterday morning found Del and I wide awake at 5:00 a.m. He was up before I was and so dressed and had gone into his office before I got out of bed and dressed myself.  I passed his office door where I could see him studying his scriptures at his desk and I knew that his morning prayers would be following shortly after, so I let him be.  I went outside to sit on our back porch and waited for him to come out. At about 5:30, he joined me outside, bringing with him a warm fuzzy blanket for each of us, where we bundled up and lay ed our chairs back a little to relax.
The following two hours were spent together, recognizing, rejoicing in and giving thanks for our many many wonderful blessings.  We talked about our children one by one, and how their lives are progressing and growing in the gospel.  We talked about our grandchildren and some of our hopes and dreams for them, both the ones we already have, and the ones we will have in the future.  We talked about our ward and the lovely members we have and how we can love each of them by serving them.  We talked about our extended families, especially our parents and what the near future holds for them - about our siblings and the love we have for them.  We talked about our marriage - our relationship, our joys, our hopes and dreams and how blessed we are to be where we are in our lives.  The bulk of the conversation then turned to our home and yard, garden, forest and all the hard work we have so far put into this place.  And then the 'harvest' that we look forward to in the fall.  Yes, recognizing all the hard work we have already done only brings to light the even more work will be necessary for the Harvest.  But that's why we are here.  We knew that coming in to this place....and it's everything we wanted. It's only now though, that I am realizing all of this was much easier to do 10-13 years ago when we were younger and had 3 younger children at home to help us with all of it.  Doing all of this at our age now, 53 and 56, is slightly more exhausting.  Slightly.  But with the same goal of rows and rows of canned food storage on our shelves for us and our children, it makes it worth doing.  Self Reliance is our goal....whether it kills us or not.
We watched the sun come up and listened for the many sounds of early morning - the cardinals, the woodpecker, the dogs, cows and horses, the other distinctive bird calls, watched the squirrels coming running through the yard to find acorns and peanuts I had thrown out the night previously.  We saw the light start to shine on our rows and rows of planted garden seeds - the strawberries are out, the onions and potatoes have shown huge progress this past week...and finally, our green beans are starting to shoe their pretty little heads.  We walked up and down the rows noticing the sporadic green bean sprout pushing it's way through the wet dirt.  Del had me take a picture, knowing, that by the end of the day, when I went to take another picture, we would be able to see the successful struggle the bean would have had to show it's pretty little head.
When we started to notice neighbors leaving to go to work, and kids going off to school, we realized we had been out in our own little world for over two hours and it was time to get things going for the day.  We said some last little expressions of love and gratefulness and came in the house to start our day.
I am blessed.  I love Del more than ever.  I love 'us' - our family - the Lord.  I give Him thanks for all things, especially my life.

a patch of green beans first thing of the day

The same patch of green beans 8 hours later
one of our rows of potatoes

some of our onions
partial view of the garden

our raspberries that won't produce until next year

our blackberries

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Meaning of Easter

Yes, I know and understand the true meaning of Easter.  It will always be about the Savior.  Always.
But now that I am a mother and grandmother, I understand even MORE fully what the Savior and his atonement and resurrection have provided for me.  These pictures above are now what the resurrection mean to me....that there will be a life after this one where I will have all those that I love with me eternally.
The world has added Easter bunnies, Easter eggs and candy and some extra enjoyment of the holiday.  To some, it distracts from the true meaning of the season, but for others, it only adds more joy to the already joyous meaning of the Spring Holiday.
I am grateful that I can appreciate ALL that the holiday has to offer, knowing and understanding first and foremost, our Saviors influence in my life.  I give Him gratitude for his sacrifice and resurrection providing me with an eternal happiness with those I love.