It’s Monday Again!

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The weekend went by so fast, I barely had time to blink!  I’m guessing that I’m not the only one who’s feeling that way, this morning, either.  I’m sure my husband, Ed, would agree.  However, since it’s Monday again, that means it’s time to join up with “The Monday Quiz” over Heather’s blog.  Here are Heather and Wayne’s questions, along with my answers:

1. It’s Customer Service week – do you think customer service is getting better or worse now than it was five years ago?  Without a doubt, customer service is worse!  I believe good customer service representatives are a dying breed.

2. October 1st is also World Vegetarian Day – have you ever spent time as a Vegetarian? Do you have regular meatless meals?  No, I haven’t spent any time as a vegetarian.  I’m not a huge meat-eater, but I do like some meat with every meal.

3. What reality show would you like to be a part of?  I think I’d like to be a part of “Big Brother”.  The contestants always have plenty of snack foods in the house (yum!), they do a lot of sitting around, and even when they do have a competition, it’s usually a fun one.

4. Are you planning to watch the Baseball post-season?  Who will win the World Series?  No, I don’t have any plans to watch post-season baseball.  I’ve never been much of a baseball fan, so I have no idea who will win the World Series.

My question:

5. Do you find it harder to wake up in the mornings, now that fall has arrived?  (It is for me!)

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The Weekend Wrap Up:

What a busy weekend it was!  I think Ed was happy to go back to work, today, so he could rest 🙂

On Friday evening, we began our weekend with a family meal.  The hospital, where Ed works, baked a ham and provided it for our family, as an expression of sympathy for the loss of Ed’s mom.  (We were able to choose when we wanted to receive our ham, and we decided to wait a few days.)  Our oldest son and his family, and our daughter and her family joined us for supper.  Everybody cooked a side dish or two, to go along with the ham, and we enjoyed our “Friday Feast”.  We had fun, but missed those who were not there to join us. (Brad and Jennifer, and Ed’s mom, of course)  During the meal, I commented that Ed’s mom would have loved some of the baked beans and potato salad, which happened to be two of her favorite dishes.

After supper, Ed asked our son-in-law to help him move some furniture from his mom’s house to ours.  They moved a dresser and a chest-of-drawers into our already crowded house.  Thank goodness for the pool room, which frequently serves as our ‘catch-all’ room.  By late Friday evening, the pool room was full!  It was Sunday afternoon before we moved an old vanity and chest-of-drawers back into Ed’s mom’s house. (We basically swapped furniture.)

In the midst of swapping furniture, over the weekend, Ed and I tackled the job of washing down the outside of our house on Saturday morning.  What a job that turned out to be!  We washed the house two-thirds of the way around, as well as washing the back porch, but didn’t get a chance to finish the back of the house.  Maybe next weekend?

Ed and I could have probably finished washing the house, but Saturday was also a good day for planting, so we decided to get our fall garden planted!  We planted some turnip greens, mustard greens, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and collards!  If they make, some of these vegetables will be for us, but most will for ‘our girls’ aka, the chickens!  ‘My girls’ love to eat green, leafy vegetables, and it’s too expensive to buy them from the grocery store!  My girls are spoiled, but they keep the eggs coming!  Last egg count?  Over 1700 in just fourteen months!

During the rest of the weekend, Ed also found time to mow some grass, on his new lawn mower, as well as do a little shopping with me!  We have a birthday celebration to prepare for.  Our daughter is turning another year older tomorrow!  It’s hard to believe it’s already been 35 years since the birth of our first child…  How different life was for us back then!

Anyway, Ed actually mowed grass until dark on Saturday night–then came inside and worked  swapping out furniture until 10 p.m.?  (It took quite a while to move all of the clothes and junk!)  We finally to bed, shortly after 11, but were back up at 5 a.m. on Sunday!

The last event of the weekend involved Ed retrieving one of our deceased cats out from under our daughter’s house! The cat who passed away was none other than ‘the garden cat’, Mr. Big, who’d been sick for a while.  (It had been four days since I’d last seen ‘Mr. Big’, so we knew he was dead somewhere.) After, retrieving the body, Ed thought it only fitting that we bury ‘Mr. Big’ in a spot over-looking the garden, so that’s what he did.  We’ll sure miss our gardening buddy, especially come next spring.  RIP, Mr. Big.

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Mr. Big, resting in our spring garden

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Published in: on September 30, 2013 at 7:42 am  Comments (14)  
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A Few Friday Fragments…

Half-Past Kissin' Time

What a week it’s been!  It’s been the most ‘normal’ week we’ve had in two weeks, but, still, it’s been far from a normal week.  It’s been one of those weeks when it’s just plain hard to keep calm!

For instance, on Monday, I received a phone call telling me that our daughter-in-law, Jennifer, was in the hospital because she was having labor pains while at work!  For two days, amidst the back and forth phone calls, tracking Jennifer’s progress, I stayed busy writing thank you notes concerning Ed’s mom’s funeral. I’m happy to report, the thank you notes are finished, and Jennifer is home from the hospital.  Life goes on, and God is good.

Jennifer spent two days and nights in the hospital, where she received medication to stop her contractions. She also received steroid shots to help the baby’s lungs develop.  Jennifer was released on Wednesday afternoon, but will remain under the  frequent, watchful eye of her doctor.  Hopefully, baby Evan will stay put for a little while longer.  Jennifer has just under seven weeks to go until her due date, but I don’t expect her to go that long.  However, every day that baby Evan stays put, will make it easier for him at birth.  According to the sonograms, he weighs in at 4 1/2 pounds right now.

On Monday I rode with Ed to take care of some of his mom’s business.  He had to go out-of-town to see about stopping her VA checks, since she recently passed away.  Tuesday was followed by more out-of-town business.  So many ‘loose ends’ to tie up, following a death, and we’re just getting started!  Sigh. Ed and I keep telling ourselves, “One day at a time…”

On Tuesday I, also, went to visit our youngest grandson, Chase, at his house.  For some strange reason, Chase has begun to associate me with being separated from his mother, which he dislikes very much!  The sight of me brings him to tears!  I’m determined to over come this stigma by visiting with him at his house–at times when I’m not needed to babysit!

After three days of cloudiness, mixed with a little rain, the sun is shining here this morning.  It’s very cool outside, a typical fall morning, which I’m glad to see.  I already have my fall decorations out, soon I’ll be getting ready to shift into Halloween mode.  My grandchildren enjoy those decorations!

Speaking of grandchildren, Caden, our oldest grandson, who’s four, is still adjusting to pre-K.  He’s been finding the separation from his mom a little difficult, but he’s working on it, and doing better. Granddaughter, Madison, who is almost seven, is doing well with first grade home-schooling.  I’m amazed at how much she has learned in just six weeks!  She writes beautifully, in cursive, and has memorized many math facts, as well as an entire (long chapter) passage from the Bible!  She reads very well, too.  Oh, to have the mind of a six-year-old again!

Today I’m going to town to run a few errands, stop by the cemetery, then come home and try to catch up on a little housework.  I’m running so far behind, I’ll never catch up!  There just aren’t enough hours in a day…  I keep telling myself, “One day at a time, Kathy. One day at a time…”

Have a great weekend, everyone!  Thanks to Mrs. 4444 for hosting ‘Friday Fragments’ over at halfpastkissintime.com

Published in: on September 27, 2013 at 8:14 am  Comments (9)  
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Thursday’s Thoughts ~ Washer Woes…

Ed and I have owned four washer/dryers during our forty-one years of marriage.  Our first set was tiny, because we had such limited laundry space in our first home.  Because we were newlyweds, we couldn’t afford a dryer, at first.  We bought the washer shortly after getting married, then a couple of years later, bought the dryer.  At the time, the only small dryer available was an avocado green one!  We bought it anyway, even though our washer was white!  (We’d had days and days of rain, and I was desperate for a dryer!)  A couple of cans of  glossy, white spray paint solved our problem, then we had a matching set!

Six years later, with the arrival of our first child, we quickly discovered the need for a large capacity set of machines!  Ed bought a like-new, large capacity set from a co-worker, then we sold our small set to a friend. Those machines lasted our growing family for over twenty years!

Our next washer/dryer combo, a basic, matching set, didn’t wear out, but was passed down, after five years, to our oldest son and his wife.  That washer lasted about a dozen years.  The dryer is still in use.  Which brings me to the last set we purchased, a set of Kenmore Elites.

We bought a ‘top of the line’ set of machines, thinking they would last us most of the rest of our lives.  Ha!  Boy was the joke on us!  After about six years, the washer became increasingly noisy during cycle changes.  Almost seven years to the day, the washer began having more serious issues–not spinning the clothes dry, as well as leaking oil from underneath.  Fortunately, the washer didn’t have any of the electronics that most of today’s models have, or it probably wouldn’t have even lasted for seven years!

I spent countless hours searching for a new washing machine.  After doing a lot of on-line reading, I quickly discovered today’s washing machines are very different from the ones I’ve grown accustomed to!  The mechanical part has been totally redesigned, and they’re not built to last–sort of like today’s televisions.  Thanks to government regulations, they also use less water and soap, which I don’t necessarily think is such a good thing when it comes to washing dirty clothes!  It’s rare to find a machine that still uses an agitator to clean the clothes.

The front-loaders and top loaders without agitators just didn’t appeal to me at all.  I wanted a basic washing machine, with an agitator, that would let me choose the amount of water and the type of detergent I want.  After reading hundreds of reviews, I decided on a very basic set of Whirlpools.  Apparently, so did a lot of other people, because finding that particular set proved to be a bit challenging!

Sears, on line, couldn’t deliver that set before September 30.  Our closest Sears Store had the washer in stock, but not the matching dryer.  Ed and I finally ended up borrowing a truck from Ed’s brother, and going to Lowe’s.

Our shopping adventure began by discovering the truck we borrowed was a four-speed!  Now, Ed can drive a four-in-the-floor, because we’ve had three of them during our marriage, but the last one was over twenty-five years ago!   Ed’s driving was okay, but let’s just say he was a bit rusty in his shifting techniques 🙂  After a few red lights, Ed remarked, “I don’t know why anyone would want a manual transmission!” (Funny, because he used to love them!)

After the ‘jerky’, thirty mile ride, our purchasing experience, at Lowe’s, turned out to be a real doozie!  After making sure the set of Whirlpools was in stock, we headed to the checkout to put our purchase on our Lowe’s card.  By doing so, we’d get an extra 5% off the purchase price, then we planned to pay the card off within the grace period.  Apparently, we hadn’t used our Lowe’s card in quite a long time, so the transaction was declined because the card had expired!  Ed had to get out of line and re-apply for a new Lowe’s card at the service center!

While standing there, reapplying, Ed noticed a sign that said Lowe’s would price-match, plus take an extra 10% off the purchase, if the product was found cheaper elsewhere.  We knew the set was on sale at Sears, for fifty dollars less, but they didn’t have the matching dryer in stock.  Ed loves a bargain, so he headed back to deal with the appliance salesman!  One hour later, Ed exited the store with the price matched and a rebate offer for an eighty dollar Lowe’s gift card.  Upon examining the receipt, I noticed that he didn’t get the 5% off for using the Lowe’s card, so Ed went back into the store to haggle some more.  The lady told him he couldn’t use two promotions together (the $80 rebate and 5% off), so they’d given him the $80 rebate which was worth the most.  She did discover (which we hadn’t) that Lowe’s hadn’t given us the 10% off to go along with the price matching.  Ed got another $101 marked off the purchase price!

Nearly five hours from the time we left home, we returned with our fifth washer/dryer set.  Ed managed to get the old set out, clean the space, and get the new set out of their boxes and set into place before bedtime.  He didn’t have time to finish installing them.  The next day, Ed’s mom took a turn for the worse, and it was almost a week before I actually got to try my new washing machine out.

I’m slowly adjusting to my new washer/dryer.  Just as I thought, I do not like this new technology.  The machine begins by ‘sensing’ the weight of the clothes, and deciding how much it’s going to give me!  Then the washer takes much longer to clean my clothes, less efficiently.  The agitator does move the clothes around much, instead it has a very gentle movement.  I must use the second rinse cycle, just to make sure most of the soap is removed from my laundry.  The agitator doesn’t move at all during the rinse cycles–the machine just fills, then immediately empties!  Then the clothes are not spun any dryer than in my broken machine!  Thank goodness for the super capacity dryer, that works great, but sounds like a freight train when it’s running!

As for my old washer/dryer set, they’re sitting under our carport, wrapped in plastic, waiting for Ed to find the time to try to repair the washing machine.  If he’s successful, it will be out with the new and back in with the old set.  Newer isn’t always better!

If you’re ever bored and looking for some interesting reading material, go on-line and read the negative reviews of new washing machines.  The reviews can be quite entertaining, and unfortunately, they are very true.

Published in: on September 26, 2013 at 9:24 am  Comments (6)  
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‘Falling’ Into Another Hodgepodge…

Happy Fall, y’all!  The last couple of days have been very ‘fall-like’ for us, and it’s been nice!  It’s mid-week, which means it’s time to ‘fall’ into another edition of The Wednesday Hodgepodge.  Below are the questions furnished by our gracious hostess, Joyce, along with my answers.  As always, thanks to Joyce for hosting this fun meme!

1. What’s one thing that’s still the same about you as when you were young?

My conscience.  All of my life, I’ve had a strong sense of what’s right and what’s wrong.  I still do.

2. What’s more important-history or science? Why?

As I’ve grown older, and become more aware of the world around me,  I’ve discovered history is more important than science.  If we don’t know history, and learn from it, we’re bound to make the same mistakes as some of our predecessors.  Case in point, America’s growing trend toward socialism tells me many people don’t know history!

3. Lima, kidney, string, garbanzo, black or pinto-your favorite bean?

Out of the beans listed, I like lima beans the most.  In fact, we had lima beans for dinner, last night.

4. What’s something people come to your town to do?

During the month of May, people come to our town to buy our famous ‘sweet onions’ and, also, to enjoy our ‘Sweet Onion Festival’.

5. When was the last time you were in a meeting? Sum it up for us in five words or less.

The last time I was in a meeting was about two weeks ago, when the family met at the funeral directors office, to make arrangements for my MIL.  My words to sum up this meeting– “Very sad and stressful.”

6. What special event would you like a VIP pass to attend?

The Country Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee.

7. What’s one piece of advice you’d give a writer?

Write from your heart, about the things you are passionate about.

Random:

Today, I’m sharing an unusual sight.  It’s a photograph of one of our pear trees. The tree has both ripened pears and new leaves/ blossoms on it, at the same time!  I think our poor tree may be a bit confused.

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Published in: on September 25, 2013 at 9:22 am  Comments (7)  
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Once A Mother, Always A Mother…

I still remember many of the talks I used to have with my mother-in-law.  She’d tell me stories about her children when they were growing up, and she’d tell me how much she still loved each one of them, even though they were all grown up.  She’d tell me how, one day, my children would step on my toes while they were little,  then, later, step on my heart after they were grown.  At the time, I couldn’t fathom what she was talking about, but over the years, I learned exactly what she meant.

When our youngest, a son, decided to move away, last year, I finally understood how mine and Ed’s parents must have felt when we married and moved away.  Ed and I were young and in love, and we quickly left our parents behind in a quest to make a new life for ourselves!  We didn’t have a telephone for many months, so our parents rarely heard from us between our visits home.  Somehow, it never occurred to either of us that our parents were missing us, and would have loved a phone call!  It’s no wonder, that five years later,  Ed’s daddy offered us our choice of land on the family farm, if only we’d move back home, which we did!

Just last month, when Ed came down with the shingles, and had cataract surgery, too, he wasn’t able to see his mom for several days.  I went to see her, and she was so worried about Ed!  There she was, ailing herself, but she was concerned for her son, and wanted to help.  I remember her saying, “If he needs any money or anything, just let me know.”  This warmed my heart, when she said this, knowing that Ed had been taking care of his mother’s financial affairs for the past three years.  Once a mother, always a mother.

Our oldest child, our only daughter, has been a mother for almost seven years.  Our oldest son, has been a father for nearly five.  Neither are the same people they were, prior to becoming parents.  I’ve watched both continue to grow and mature, as they care for and teach their children the things they’ll need to know to make them smart, productive adults.  I watch my children struggle and sacrifice to give their children what they need or want–just like Ed and I did, and our parents before us.  The circle of life continues.

Soon, our youngest, will become a father himself.  He has no idea of the ways his life is about to change, but he’ll learn, and I have no doubts that he’ll be a wonderful father, too.  He has a lot of his father’s ways.

Last night, our phone rang.  It was our youngest, Brad.  He was calling to say that his wife, Jennifer, has been admitted to the hospital, for observation.  She, apparently, is having some pre-term labor.  While she’d been at work, she’d started feeling bad, and ended up going to her doctor’s office.  The mother in me immediately wanted to get in the car and drive to the hospital to be with my children!  Instead, I called back with some unsolicited parental advice for our son–“Stay close to Jennifer tonight, she needs you.”  Giving unsolicited advice is what mothers sometimes do.

Hopefully, baby Evan will stay put a little while longer.  He still has seven more weeks until his due date.  Jennifer is receiving medication to help ease those labor pains, as well as steroid shots to help baby Evan’s lungs develop.  No matter what happens, it won’t be much longer until Brad and Jennifer’s lives take a new turn!  I’m looking forward to witnessing their journey as parents–a journey that will last until they take their last breath, just like Ed’s mom’s did.

Published in: on September 24, 2013 at 7:52 am  Comments (4)  
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Just Me On Monday…

For two long weeks, following my MIL’s illness and passing, my life has basically been in limbo.  Things are still not back to normal, but every day gets a little better than the day before it.  Dealing with death, and its aftermath, is hard, but we’re trying to get back to normal.

Normal, for me, on Monday, is participating in the ‘Monday Quiz’ about me.  Below you will find Heather and Wayne’s questions, along with my answers.

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1. Next Saturday is “Ask a Stupid Question Day”… in preparation for it, please share a stupid question you’ve been asked or would like an answer to…

Someone once asked me if my little granddaughter was my baby.  I was flattered, but really?  I was 52 when she was born!

2. Do you believe that workplace dressing has become too casual?

Yes, I do believe workplace dressing has become too casual.  There’s a time and a place for flip-flops, jeans, t-shirts, or tank tops–the workplace isn’t it.  I once had a principal who required us to “dress like we worked in a bank”.  While this request seemed a bit extreme for working with children, I must admit, the staff looked a lot more professional.

3. What technology is on your wishlist? Is there a technology that hasn’t been invented yet that you want to see happen?

I’m technologically challenged, so there will be no new technology on my wish list!  Heck, I’m still trying to figure out Windows 8, and my new Kindle Fire.

4. September is Honey Month – are you a fan of honey? how do you use it?

No, I’m not a fan of honey, so I don’t use it for anything.

Weekend wrap-up:

Our weekend began on Friday evening, when our daughter and oldest son joined us for dinner, along with their families.  Everyone brought their own food, and we ate together. ( I felt a bit guilty, though, since Ed and I ate grilled steaks, while the others had pizza.)  I love how everyone usually gathers on Fridays.  It’s a nice way to begin the weekend!

Saturday wasn’t a fun day.  Ed, our son-in-law, and Ed’s brothers all went to the personal care home to remove the rest of Ed’s mom’s things, and bring them home.  I removed most of her personal belongings on Monday, but the men had to move her furniture on Saturday.  For some reason, Saturday was a sad and difficult day for me.

On Sunday, Ed had actually planned to take me to the beach.  Since I’ve been having a difficult time lately, Ed thought I could use a ‘beach get-away’.  Unfortunately, it was raining when we woke up, so, instead, we spent most of the day moving and rearranging some of the furniture in our house.  We needed to make room for Ed’s cedar chest from his mom’s house, as well as a bedroom suit.   It’s so sad moving things out of his mom’s house, and I have many mixed feelings about this.

However, Sunday afternoon brought a pleasant surprise when Brad and Jennifer came for a short, but sweet, visit.  It was late when they arrived, and they didn’t have long to stay, but  it was so good to see them!  Not a day goes by that we don’t miss them.   Our entire family agrees, the family circle just isn’t complete without Brad and Jennifer here!

That’s it for me today.  I’ll be making my way around to catch up with everyone this week, and I’m looking forward to it!  See you soon.

Have a great Monday!

Published in: on September 23, 2013 at 7:00 am  Comments (3)  
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Strollin’ Through The Past…

I used the word ‘strollin’ in my title because it was a word that Ed’s mom often used throughout her life.  She’d always refer to a shopping trip as ‘going strolling’.  She’d call me up and ask, “Kathy, would you like to go strollin’ with me?”  For many years, I didn’t know how to drive, and Vivian always took us ‘strollin’.  In later years, after I learned how to drive, I was the one who took us ‘strollin’–but we always had to go in her car.  Vivian loved her car!

It’s been a very long, and emotionally taxing week for me, as I’ve had the task of going through my mother-in-law’s personal things.  After forty-four years of knowing this fine lady, I’ve gained even more insight into her life, this week.

My week began by going to the personal care home on Monday.  I took several plastic tubs with me, and began the arduous task of packing up Vivian’s personal things.  The last three years of her life had been spent in that room.  It was a large room, the largest one in the home, and it was always immaculate, just like Vivian’s house was.  It was also filled with lots of things.

After several tearful visits with both the residents and aides, I was left alone to get on with the business at hand.  I began opening and unpacking drawers.  I’d helped move Vivian’s things into this room, now I was moving them out.  None of the drawers were arranged the way I’d originally done them, except for the bottom drawer of the chest of drawers.  The bottom drawer had been designated as ‘the toy drawer’, and I’d filled it with toys and books for Vivian’s visiting great-grandchildren.  She always told me how much the children enjoyed plundering through ‘the toy drawer’.

Next, I began to pack up the clothes hanging in the closet.  All were very familiar to me, since I’d shopped for most of them.  I’d been with Vivian when she purchased some of the clothes, others I’d shopped for, alone.  Vivian always loved pretty clothes.  Vivian had a habit of ‘saving’ a new outfit or two, for ‘special occasions’.  At her old home, it was common to find a new dress, complete with tags, hanging in her closet.  There, in her closet, at the personal care home, hung two new pants outfits, with tags still hanging…

Later in the week, I began the task of scanning Vivian’s old photographs, so the family could divide up the originals.  I wanted everybody to have a digital copy of every photograph.  As I scanned each photograph from over the years, Vivian’s life unfolded before my life.

There she was in her early role as an army/air force recruiter.  Next, as a young wife and mother.  There were a few precious photos of the two sons, who didn’t survive early childhood, due to illness.  There were several pictures of the outside of her house, some with the flowers blooming in springtime, and even a few with the rare, occasional snowfall.  Each picture documented many changes the house had undergone throughout the years.  Of course, there was Ed’s high school graduation,  his army pictures, and then our wedding.  There were several photographs of past holiday get-togethers, including many that included my parents.  Soon, I came to lots of pictures of grandchildren, and even a few great-grands, but then the pictures slowed down, just as Vivian’s life had begun to slow down…

Last night, I finally got around to sorting through Vivian’s greeting cards and clippings.  I never realized it, but she saved everything! There were Christmas cards, birthday cards, Mother’s Day cards, and even sympathy cards from when her husband passed away eleven years ago.  Many of the senders have since passed away themselves.

I even found a few precious birthday cards that her husband had given her, many years ago.  I teared up when I read those cards, because the words were so sweet and familiar.  Words of a husband professing his love for his wife.  The cards were usually signed ‘WAB’, her husband’s initials.  One was lovingly signed, “Old man, Willie Bacon”.  That was so like my father-in-law!

One of these days, someone in my family will be strolling through my past, after I’m gone.  They’ll find toys for ‘the grands’, perhaps a new outfit in my closet, too.  They’ll, also, find many photographs, cards, and clippings, but there will be one difference.  My precious birthday cards will be signed ‘Ed’.  Vivian and I were both blessed.  We both knew a special kind of love from two special men.  One was the father, the other his son.

There’s a song, by Alan Jackson, that reminds me of my dear, sweet, mother-in-law. If I’d remembered it, I would’ve had it played at her funeral. Instead, I’m posting it here, in her honor. The song is entitled, “I Want To Stroll Over Heaven With You”.

This song, “I Want To Stroll Over Heaven” was a favorite of Alan Jackson’s parents. In the video, he’s singing it to his mom, sometime after his dad had passed away. Alan had just recorded a gospel album, “Precious Memories”, for his mother, and this song was the final cut on that album.  Alan’s mom is the lady in the audience, who’s singing along.

Published in: on September 20, 2013 at 8:56 am  Comments (1)  
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Thursday’s Thoughts ~ Vivian’s Service

I don’t know how it is in other parts of the country, but, here, whenever someone passes away, there seems to be a sprint to make arrangements and have the funeral.  Eleven hours after Vivian passed away, we were at the funeral home making arrangements!  We hardly had time to grieve.  Fortunately, Ed and I had already put some thought into the plans, we just had to run them by his brothers.

We wanted those involved in the service to be close to Vivian.  The pastor of her church was not.  He’d only met and visited her twice, which doesn’t speak well of him, as far as I’m concerned.  However, my brother, David, is an ordained pastor, and knew Vivian well.  He and his wife both knew Ed’s parents well, though multiple family gatherings.  They’d been guests in each other’s homes on several occasions, as well.  David was the perfect choice, and I made the call.

Ed thought it would be special to have Vivian’s three sons, and her three grandsons as pallbearers.  She loved all of her ‘Bacon Boys’, and would have been pleased to have them carry her to the grave.  One son wouldn’t agree, but gave his place to his son-in-law instead.  The funeral director listed the son as a pallbearer anyway.  (It was the only glitch in the entire funeral planning process.)  I had little to say in the planning process, until it came time to choose Vivian’s casket and  burial dress.  I had to add my ‘feminine input’ about those choices, and I think Vivian would have been pleased with the choices that were ultimately made.

My brother, David, and his wife, Kay, live about 3 1/2 hours away, so they came a day early, and stayed with Ed and me.  I can’t tell you how comforting it was for us to have them here.  So many good things happened because of their visit!  The Lord was clearly at work among our family, through them.  Old friendships were rekindled with some, while broken family relationships began to mend with others.  I’m not sure those things would have happened, had David and Kay not been here.

When David told me he was going to open up the service for people to speak, I knew that I needed to say something about this wonderful woman who’d made such a profound difference in my life.  The problem was, I’m shy and do not like to speak in front of people.  However, I know that I can do all things through Christ, so I prayed to God, for Him to help me find the right words, and the courage to speak them.  He answered my prayers.

I was up until 2:30 am on the morning of the funeral, struggling with the ending words of my message.  Finally, out of exhaustion, I went to bed.  The following morning, Ed let me read the letter his mother left to her three sons.  I cried, and immediately knew exactly what I needed to say!  God is so good.

The presence of God was very evident in the funeral home on the day of Vivian’s service.  He was with us every step of the way, beginning with David’s tearful opening prayer, and ending with the song, “Precious Memories”, by Alan Jackson.

God spoke to my youngest son’s heart, and gave him the courage to speak at the funeral, as well.  He was close to both of Ed’s parents, and lived with Vivian up until she had to go into the personal care home.  He knew his grandmother well.  His remarks honored her greatly, and she would’ve been so pleased!

Others mentioned, afterward, that they felt led to speak, but, for whatever reason, circumstances didn’t permit it to happen.  I think the service was exactly the way God intended it to be, and I know Vivian would have been pleased.

Below are the words I spoke about my beloved mother-in-law, at her service, as well as the ending song:

I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to call this sweet lady my mother-in-law.  We formed a special bond from the moment we first met, forty-four years ago.  By the time I married Ed, three years later, I already felt like a member of his family.

Vivian always told me that she thought of me as the daughter she’d never had, and after spending so many years living in a male-dominated household, she was happy to have some female companionship!

Vivian and I shared a multitude of memories between us, and she’d often smile and say, “Do you remember when?”

I loved hearing her share her stories of how she met her husband, and the things the boys did as children – like the time she baked a cake, then had to go to town.  She told her boys, “Don’t cut the cake!”  They didn’t, but when she returned home, they’d eaten every bit of frosting off of the cake!

Some of my favorite memories with Vivian are: making jelly and canning vegetables with Vivian, every summer, in her kitchen; family picnics with W.A.’s fried chicken, and Vivian’s potato salad; and my first Christmas as Ed’s wife, when my cat, “B.B” climbed up Vivian’s artificial Christmas tree and turned it over!  She just laughed.

Vivian loved to do three things:  Work in her yard, to go fishing, and going shopping.  She and I shared about a million shopping trips, throughout our years together, and she always bought for others, rather than herself.  That’s the kind of person she was.

Today, the hole in my heart is almost as big as it was when I lost my own mother.  Vivian became like a second mother to me.

I’m forever grateful, and blessed, that Vivian raised such a fine son, and that I was able to be a part of her family.

To Vivian’s sons, I’d like to say, “You were truly blessed with a loving and precious mother.”

Published in: on September 19, 2013 at 8:30 am  Comments (1)  
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Another Wednesday Hodgepodge…

I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday again!  Where does the time go?  Wednesday means it’s time to join up with Joyce and friends for a little bit of “Hodgepodge” fun.  After a week of being ‘out of things’, it’s good to be back 🙂  Here are Joyce’s questions, along with my answers:

1. When did you last sing happy birthday to someone? When were you last sung to? Does that embarrass you or do you enjoy being the center of attention on your special day?

I can’t remember who I last sang to, but it was most likely one of our sons.  Brett had a birthday in May, then Brad had one in July.

It’s funny, but I don’t remember anyone singing to me on my birthday, last month, so it’s most likely been a  whole year since anyone sang to me.  I get a little embarrassed when I’m the center of attention anyway!

2. Name a famous or ‘infamous’ person (living or deceased) who shares your birth day and month. Is that someone you’d like to meet in person if it were possible?

I don’t know of any famous person who shares my birthday, but a former classmate and close friend does!  Her name is Holly, and we were friends throughout school, but were especially close during our senior year of high school.  She was one of the servers at mine and Ed’s wedding reception, since we only chose one attendant each at our wedding.

After my daughter was born, Holly hid in the bathroom of my hospital room so she could take pictures of my new baby, when the nurse brought her in for a feeding.  Now that’s a friend!  I still treasure those photographs today.

I haven’t seen Holly in over thirty years, because she moved away, but I’d love to see her again.

3. Someone hands you a box tied up in a lovely bow…what are you hoping to find inside?

Something pretty!  I love all kinds of pretty things–flowers, ‘what-nots’, dolls, dishes, pictures, stuffed animals…

4. What can you guarantee about yourself?

That I will love Ed until I draw my last breath.  I’m a blessed woman.

5. Talking art and beautiful cities here…’The Last Supper’ in the Santa Maria della Grazie Abbey in Milan Italy or ‘The Mona Lisa’ in The Louvre, Paris…which would you most like to see up close and in person? Why?

‘The Last Supper’, for no reason, other than I love the painting.  I wouldn’t care much about visiting Milan since I don’t care much for traveling.

6. Your favorite dessert?

Any kind of cake, but chocolate or caramel cake are particular favorites!

7. This coming weekend marks the official start of autumn (in the Northern hemisphere)…what is something you do to get ready for fall? What is one thing you’re looking forward to on your fall calendar? Spring or fall-which do you prefer?

I love to decorate the inside and outside of my home for fall.  Fall decorations rank high on my list of favorites–right behind my Christmas decorations!

As for one thing I’m looking forward to–I’m especially looking forward to the arrival of our newest grandson, Evan William, who’ll be arriving sometime around Ed’s birthday in November!

While I enjoy fall a lot, I actually prefer spring.

Random:

The past week has gone by in a blur!  I’m so behind on EVERYTHING, including visiting my blog friends.  Please bear with me until I get things a little more organized and under control.  There is still so much to be done.  And while I’m thinking about it, thanks so much to those of you who expressed such kind words of sympathy during the recent loss of Ed’s mom.  I’m blessed to have such a caring group of friends!  Special thanks to Joyce, for continuing to host The Wednesday Hodgepodge.  It’s still the bright spot in the middle of my week 🙂

Published in: on September 18, 2013 at 6:54 am  Comments (7)  
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Sometimes Good Things Happen Because Of Bad Circumstances…

8-19-2010 9;37;24 AM Edward, Kerry, Kevin

Ed and his brothers, standing in front of their home,  cir. 1966

When a loved one dies, suddenly the family is thrust into the frenzy of making funeral arrangements, and therefore, are forced to spend a lot of time together.  In the case of Ed’s family, as well as our own, this was a good thing.

After Ed’s daddy passed away, eleven years ago, the distance between Ed and his brothers began to grow.    An unfortunate incident during the funeral planning of Ed’s dad,  caused hard feelings among some.  The family began to drift apart.

Vivian (Ed’s mom) depended heavily upon Ed for everything, during the years following her husband’s death.  Many decisions had to be made, sometimes resulting in jealousy or friction within the family.   Eventually, the brothers no longer kept in touch, except to send yearly Christmas cards.

Many months ago, one of Ed’s brothers, who happens to live on the family farm, too, became seriously ill, and came near to death.  Through this occurrence, Ed and his brother became close again, after Ed offered to help with his brother’s home health care.  Still, the other brother remained aloof.

On Vivian’s last day on this earth, all three of her sons were in her hospital room.  It was the first time her three sons had all been together with their mother, at the same time, in many years.  I realized this, and immediately felt at peace.  Although Vivian was very sick, I believe, somehow, she realized, too, and felt that same peace.  Her family was finally together again.  She passed away about twelve hours later.

In the days following their mother’s death, the brothers spent much time together.  It’s such a shame that it took their mom’s death to bring them together.  Much talk and prayer has taken place, and I believe some healing has begun.  Each has expressed their thoughts and feelings to the other and the air has been cleared.

Upon the death of their mom, the brothers discovered a letter in her safe deposit box.  It was hand-written, and dated March 2003.  Nearly one year after their father had passed away.  By then, Vivian had become aware of the distance between her sons, and, as a mother, I know it worried her.  A portion of her letter confirmed her concerns.

In the letter, Vivian tells her sons how much she and her husband loved them.  She reminds them that their father’s blood runs in their veins, and that by loving and honoring each other, they would be keeping their dad’s memory alive.  She says this would make him proud and happy.

She, also, asks that her sons please don’t fight over what little she and her husband had to leave them.  She asks them to share and honor their parents’ memory.  She says that she and her husband loved their sons with the same love they had for each other, and that they loved each other dearly.

Last, she asks that the property be kept in the family as long as possible, and that nobody sell unless they give the other a chance to buy their part.

Ed and his brothers have some difficult days ahead, as they attempt to carry out their mother’s wishes.  Ed has been left the unenviable task of being executor of his mom’s estate.  He’s a good and honest man, and I have no doubt that he will do the right thing by his brothers.  We’ve attempted to reassure his brothers of this, and I pray they will trust, and work with Ed.

Soon they will begin the unpleasant task of dividing up and dispensing with Ed’s mom’s household goods and personal items.  I pray it goes smoothly.  I know it’s going to be heart-wrenching to experience, as I’ve already been there.

At the moment, we are in a very difficult place concerning Vivian’s house.  None of the brothers really need or want the house, which, unfortunately, happens to sit in the middle of the family farm.  The house needs some repairs, but still has lots of potential.

The farm land has already been divided among the brothers, and two of them live on it, as well as two of our children.  Ed and I feel that selling “the home-place”  to a stranger is simply unacceptable.  His parents bought that house, shortly after they married, and raised their entire family there (including a grandson).  They worked hard, all their lives, to make it nice, and were very proud of their home.

So far, God hasn’t revealed a clear option for the house, yet.  Ed’s going to move slowly, making sure the right decision is made.  He wants to honor his mother’s wishes, we’re just not sure of the best way to do it.

God has been at work among this family during the past seven days.  It’s my prayer that He continues to speak, and all will be listening.  I’m praying for a peaceful and honorable solution to the house dilemma.  I’d love for someone in the family to decide to make Vivian and W.A.’s house a home again.  It would make Ed’s parents so proud.

Published in: on September 17, 2013 at 9:24 am  Comments (4)  
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