Saturday, November 30, 2013

Giving Thanks for Family

Tom and I spent Thanksgiving day with our son Adam and his Alicia, her parents and her brother as well. Adam and Alicia's house is very warm and welcoming and easily big enough for all of us! The turkey and ham dinner was a splendid group effort, and although the main burden still fell to the was a fabulous dinner and a lighter load for everyone because we all contributed.

At least I hope that was the case. You would never know Alicia had surgery less than two weeks ago She seems to be getting along just fine without a gallbladder, but we (Adam, her mother and I) kept encouraging her not to overdo. Our degree of success amounted to this: when it was time for clean up we talked her into sitting on the couch. She dutifully sat. For two minutes, maybe three.
I have to say, I can't remember having such a pleasant time working together in the kitchen, from prep to clean up...a good time was had by all.
Over dinner we each took time to share something we are particularly thankful for. Family topped the list over and over again -- time with, support of, grateful for. We each shared from our hearts and from our own experiences, our two families with individual but similar circumstances this year. There were tears (it's okay, the potatoes needed salt anyway) and lumps in throats (better than in the gravy) and rather than asking, "Please pass the pepper," it was, "Please pass the Kleenex." Good grief. Seriously, it was a good time of grieving and being thankful, and then -- even -- can you believe?, laughing together. I had almost forgotten how my Adam's eyes sparkle when they leak, and how adorable he looks when he laughs through tears. 
Now I'm sounding melodramatic, and all I meant to say was, we had a wonderful time and very thankful Thanksgiving day. I hope you did too. Love, Betsy

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lucky Me...

The month of Thanksgiving continues. People post what they are most thankful for each day. I'm cognizant of amazing blessings and only hope I don't overlook the smallest ones. But I don't often enough take time to voice my thanks, except maybe in prayer. Perhaps these pictures give voice to what has blessed me most this month...time with Mom and Dad.

Nadine and I had a great week in Florida or as my Dad likes to call it, Paradise... Lucky us.

Mom giving directions
Something was pretty funny...but I don't remember what.
Last morning...the sun's coming up and we're heading out.

The favorite nurse (in yellow) doubled as cook, cleaner, yard worker, and all around good friend.
The pleasant patient (in stripes) up early. Up, but not quite at 'em!
Saying goodbye over a cup of coffee

at dark thirty.
I'm very grateful for a wonderful time with Mom and Dad... Lucky me!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

So Much for Balmy...

To survive in these here parts you better love the change of seasons. And the change back, and the change ahead, and the change again, and... Case in point, that balmy weather in early November, of which I spoke in my previous post was followed by this:

I took this picture the morning I left home for a week in Florida. While I was gone the snow melted and Tom finished clearing the last of the fallen leaves from the lawn. He took advantage of fair weather preparing for winter -- not a day too soon. I returned to typically chilly fall weather. Then it got colder, and rained, and the wind blew, bringing in a winter storm, which dumped a foot of snow on us. I'm wishing I could go back to Florida. It's especially nice to leave for warm climes when you're leaving snow behind.

While down south with my friend, Nadine, we enjoyed temps in the 70's and 80's. We sat out on the lanai in our jammies and watched the sunrise in the mornings. In the evenings while we were getting dinner ready, Mom and Dad made sure the sun got itself set good and proper. They occupied their rockers and took in the peaceful, beautiful is their daily habit. What a nice routine, don't you think?

Nadine and I had the after-dark shift in the rockers, or the hot tub, or out walking -- some nights all three. Sitting, soaking, or walking, we marveled at the full moon, the lead up to it, and the couple of days after, and the warm weather. Simply gorgeous. Even the cloudy nights were stunning.

"The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
where morning dawns, where evening fades,
you call forth songs of joy." Psalm 65:8

I have no night time pictures, but here are some photos of the flowers, shrubs, trees, yard, and the showy visitors we enjoyed.

Gorgeous birds, these Sand Hill Cranes, absolutely gorgeous.

Aha! Here's the real attraction.

A bird feeder. And I am a bird, am I not?

Because you are nice enough to feed me, I'll let you take my picture close up.
I took these pictures last week a thousand miles south of here. Today, at home, we're shoveling snow. Such extremes!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bonus Days

Good night dahlia bulbs. Sleep the winter away.
Today was downright balmy here in northwestern PA. For November 6th that's a bonus. This is not typical weather. I took advantage of the warm weather and pulled the dahlia bulbs this afternoon. A hard frost last week did them in. Oh my, they look bad after a frost -- black and droopy, ugh. Dahlias come out in the fall easier than they go in in the spring. I just grab a handful of stems and gently tug until the ball of dirt and bulbs begins to rise up. Then I shake off the dirt and snip the stems, letting the bulbs fall into a bucket. The buckets full of bulbs will go to the basement until April or May. One year I made the mistake of putting lids on the buckets. All winter long my bulbs were busy turning into dahlia soup -- and it stunk to high heaven when the lids came off. That spring I got to buy all new dahlias.  (I thought I was protecting the bulbs from mice. Why? Don't ask me. I'd never noticed mice ravaging my dahlia bulbs before, but I got it in my head, and, well, I learned the hard way. Better to share if the mice are so inclined, which they aren't, than to lose it all.

Tom is putting the final touches on closing the pool. He's taking advantage of the warm weather too. I've actually been swimming a few days a week at Recreation Complex in Meadville. It involves a little investment of time (25 minutes each way) and a little investment of money for gas, and a small entrance fee which covers the lifeguard, hot water if I shower after, and the use of a pool that is kept up beautifully and comfortably warm. It's a great deal.

A friend of mine who is a swimmer and lives way over on the left coast posted a while back that she appreciates driving to a facility where someone else keeps the pool ready for her to swim most any time she wants. I snobbishly thought, oh no, it's much better to have your own pool. Ah-hem, I stand corrected. This is better, someone else taking care of the pool. Best of all I can swim year round. But I'm sure, come summer time, I'll be ready to enjoy and keep care of my own swimming pool, and host my friends right here. Until then, the Rec Complex is great. And swimming on any late fall or winter day is indeed a bonus!

Good night swimming pool. Sleep tight all winter long.
Tomorrow is supposed to be cold and rainy. Thursday, possible snow. Typical November weather.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Month of Thanksgiving

I've never done well with posting a thankful thought every single day. I'm sure I have a thankful thought or two every day, and even though I don't take time to write my moments of gratitude down I'm glad others do. Hearing what someone else is grateful for always warms my heart. I have a friend that I see once or twice a week and she always has something happy to share. "You won't believe what the Lord did... (this morning, or yesterday, or this week)," she'll gush. Sometimes it's something big, other times it's so small I'd have missed it if it had happened to me. I'd have chalked it up to coincidence. Not this gal, she sees God's hand in everything.

Man, I want to be like that. I love being with people who are upbeat -- happy much more often than they are sad -- see silver linings and don't miss tiny blessings, always finding something good in surroundings, circumstances, and the souls they encounter day in and day out. Yes, I want to be like that. So, to those of you who purposefully and faithfully post what you are grateful for every day during the month of November, the month of Thanksgiving, thanks! I appreciate it, and I appreciate you, and I guess that's something I'll be thankful for each and every day...your grateful posts.

As for me, I couldn't be more grateful for anything in the month of November than the gift of having been blessed (40 years ago, now!) with my first baby boy. I'm grateful for him, who he has become, all that he has brought to our lives. Tom and I love him like no other, not counting his 3 brothers. All four we love equally -- but this isn't their month. Today, this month, it's all about Nathan. First born son to us, first born grandson to my parents, first born nephew to my brothers and sisters. So very special to all of us.
Baby Nathan and Oma
(That's the name a grandma gets when her first born grandchild says Mmm-ma.)
Adam and Nathan

Aaron, Amy, Nathan

David and Nathan in San Francisco

Happy Birthday to Nathan!