Here they are, JJ and Honey, flying right up to the sky. And I filmed it all on our handy-dandy digital camera! I made sure everything fit in the screen, "Just Right."
I'm sure this will entitle me to some other bloggy award in the not-too-distant future...
Hope your day is full of laughter, too.
My good new friend, Elaine and I were chatting yesterday and discussing how fun it would be to get our bloggy buddies together sometime. This anonymity does have its drawbacks. But we do need to be careful online. Not amongst those we know we can trust, but Dateline has brought many things to our attention and some of them are oh so frightening. So just a word here, "Be careful."
How in the world did I go there from a cute cup of coffee?? Not sure. But it must be something someone needs to be reminded of today.
Now back to the completely frivolous:
Dear Joy at Joy of Desserts passed on this beautiful award to me. If you've not yet visited her blog, oh my! You have missed some wonderful posts. She is the cook I will be in heaven. Maybe. Will any of us cook? Maybe we all will and we'll all be as gifted as Joy is here. hmm.
So it's with pleasure I'm passing along this award to five blogs which I find truly delightful. Please visit them as I would not recommend them if they did not deserve a Grande Mocha Carmellito with whipped cream on top.
- Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee
- Liz at Kentucky Bound
- Amy at Life and Times of Life at Home
- Amy-Faith at Faith Hope Love Mama
- Jon at Stuff Christians Like (He doesn't seem to be the type to accept a silly award, but I want to give him this free commercial.)
And just because I want to, I'm giving this award to one more friend, Elaine. Her posts should be published in a book. She shares amazingly deep and beautiful writing. And her name really is Elaine. Honest truth. Good stuff. Elaine at Peace for the Journey. No "Cafe Mama Sugar Sprinkle Joy" for a pseudonym...
When we knew they were actually on their way, I called to see if they had a preference --- shall we relax at home or is there somewhere you'd like to go eat that you've missed horribly since you made the move out to the Big Country? There was not really more than a polite pause --- "LET'S GO OUT!" Ah yes. I "order well." Just jokin', I know they would eat my cooking if I made them...
Anyway.... we went to Mimi's which we all enjoy. DJ says it's a bit of an old people's place, but we like it, so maybe we're old now. Ordering was really comical. Somehow DJ thought our friend Gigi had called the waitress "Muffin" as he was studying the menu when she was ordering and she was actually just delighted they had the seasonal lemon cheesecake muffin as an option. The waitress was a very sharp young lady named "Blythe." It seems to me that young ladies named Blythe should be studying in the UCLA library, not taking your order for low-fat blueberry or carrot spice, but we had a lot of fun with her. JJ was along. He was not calling her "Muffin." Let's just make that clear.
Obviously, there were five of us --- at a table designed for four. If you've ever been to Mimi's, you know that they give you a five inch round plate for each pat of butter. The table was crowded. And three of the five of us are left-handed. You're getting the picture. The tight squeeze and stacks of plates only contributed to our constant laughter. I would not allow one of us to order liver. That is just not right. Liver is something your mother makes you eat when you look pale. It should not be ordered for a special treat.
To conclude, we requested dessert, then changed our minds because we decided on the dessert sampler. (What a lovely option!) So Gigi's husband went off to find Blythe in the kitchen. You can imagine the scene. The ordering continued as they wanted muffins-to-go for their drive back to Northland and to share with family for breakfast today.
All in all, it was just so wonderful to spend time with old friends. No, not friends who are old (despite that we went to Mimi's) but friends we've known ever since. We chatted for hours back at the house. Life is bringing interesting changes for all of us; our roads have twisted here and there and may take different directions in the future. And we know God knows what is ahead for each of us.
Now this is not a serious theological statement (please don't send letters to George Wood about me) but I've often thought that when Christ encouraged us to "Do this in remembrance of Me" he could just as easily have meant, "Spend time with each other. Laugh. Talk about Me. Encourage. Love." Finding strength in the midst of difficult grown-up matters. Yes, that is quite similar to communion.
It's been a gloomy Memorial week-end here in Sunny. On Friday night, we even stopped at the store and picked up a log for the fireplace. (This is not a normal activity for kicking off Memorial Day festivities.) We've had some rain, lots of clouds and very little sunshine. It seems to be peeking through the sky today, but we're not sure of it by any means. Therefore.... Max has been a bit disgusted with all of us. We've spent far too much time watching movies and sitting in front of those little boxes with our fingers moving in front of them. It seems we have one of those in every room now that JJ is home. We honestly don't have one in every room --- it just seems that way.
But there was one bit of brightness Saturday afternoon....Louie stopped by and gave us a quick salute! He has tail feathers and a yellow chest just like his papa, but he is about a quarter of his size. And he must have been very attentive during the flying lessons. He just soars!!! I hope to get a picture, but no promises. You'll just have to trust me.
Jean shares many wonderful things in this book. The title refers to an ongoing book club she hosts in her home. But there is far more to it than simply discussing books. She encourages the spirit of hospitality, graciousness, mentoring, friendship, and of course, how to have a proper "tea." From the darling photos of the tea service and teapots, to the recipes included, you will find a wonderful resource for beginning or encouraging your own ministry to women in "A Novel Tea."
Jean is also a gifted speaker. We actually had her join us a few years ago at our little church's retreat here in Sunny. Imagine that! Right here! She weaves her family's story into her message in a beautiful manner. The story she shares will bless you, whether you brew your tea in an antique teapot or push 'One Minute' on the microwave oven... If your women's ministries group is looking for someone for your Fall Retreat, Spring Fling or Mom to Mom's Brunch, I highly recommend Jean Chapman.
For more information on Jean and "A Novel Tea" please visit www.springbrookpress.com.
Theme parks certainly have progressed in the last few decades. We were discussing which things were the 'low points' of our day on the ride home. I'm sure when they made their debuts they were cutting edge. 3-D is so not 4-D! The ladybug bumper cars (although designed for children) went about two miles an hour - at their peak speed. I remembered my father telling the story of his parents and the fear the local farmers had that cows might lose their minds if they saw an automobile drive by. It was just against nature. What would they think of the loop-de-loop coasters and rocketeer rides to the sky and back in just a few short seconds!
Laughter is such an incredible gift. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Not laughter specifically, but thanking God for putting people in my world that I can laugh with about all sorts of things.
One friend loves to bring up shared memories about silly things that happened while working and attending the same church together a while back. Searching for a thief, seeing a person in the Easter drama trip and having an 'oops' come out while his microphone was hot one year, figuring out the thief's identity, calling 911 when a gal pretended to faint, the hilarious manner in which previously referred-to thief was captured...
Another good friend shares similar cooking skills and we have countless stories of mishaps. Leaving the plastic on the casserole as it is reheated - in the oven, not the microwave, using leftover pumpkin pie batter instead of leftover turkey gravy for a holiday creation, the famous coffee story which is way too embarrassing to mention (perhaps Papa Noel will leave a comment and tell you the sad yet hilarious tale) and so many, many more....
As I sat down here today, just intending to tell you the latest story of Ruby-Dee and how she put the tin foil down on the counter and it ended up rolling all across the living room and out into the hallway and how she informed me, "You CAN NOT re-roll aluminum foil!" I smiled. And I thought of the Hallelujah Chicken. Sometimes you just have to smile and say, "Oh, Bless the Lord."
And then there's sweet Joy. I imagine Joy as a very trendy, up-to-date Julia Child. She knows all about cooking. I think she speaks "Frenglish." Is that the correct term, Joy? Going back and forth from French to English and perhaps landing somewhere in between. I really enjoy people who can do that. And cook. People who are good cooks amaze me. As my profile states, I "order well."
We've been trying to pass on kindness more the past couple of years. Remember those bumper stickers and such from the 70's (I think it was the 70's....) about passing on warm fuzzies? We've been seeking out restaurant managers to compliment them (even when obtaining food poisoning, but not yet aware...) and young kids who are trying really hard in their summer jobs, etc.
So as a rookie blogger, and a Mom who doesn't really have too many meals turn out too well, just lost a couple of baby birds, and hopes to have entertained you a bit sharing a few of my stories...."Thanks Sheri and Joy. I'm amazed!"
Isaiah. That's in the Old Testament. The sixteenth chapter talks about the Moabites, refers to their pride, withering fields of Hebron, (I think there's a Hebron in Utah, too) and the weeping of Jazer. Yep, pretty hard to follow. That's why we have places like Fuller, AGTS, Wheaton and Vanguard. When you have a degree from one of these universities or seminaries you can explain tough chapters like this. Or at the very least, pronounce the biblical cities properly.
But in our town, Sunny, in fact --- at our house, in Sunny, we have been caring for some little birds pushed from the nest since Sunday. There is a nest right outside the office here and we discovered three little birds who had fallen straight onto the concrete.
I remembered seeing Lexie looking out through the wooden blinds on the office door and she would jump a bit, but I thought she'd just bumped into the blinds! She must have seen the little babies first! So...Sunday afternoon was spent with Mama Gracie doing her best to assist the newly hatched birds. They bounced around and hopped and their Mama and Papa stayed very close to them.
But alas, in the morning, Mama Gracie had large tears fall as two of them had not survived. About an hour later, after the sprinklers stopped, little chirps were heard from the middle of the lawn nearby.....Oh! Joy! So here he is (I think his name is Louie):
He spent Monday stretching those wings, enjoying treats from his mama, and chirping. He settled in for the night and we put up a piece of cardboard on one side to give him some security. There's no sign of him this morning, but I'm sure his Mom & Dad are giving him flying lessons. If anything else happened... well, this is not the Discovery channel and we are not going to discuss those options.
But back to those Moabite women and the birds being pushed out of the nest.... Isn't it amazing that God cares about "little Louie" and knows exactly where he is this morning (whether or not he's here or joining the Heavenly Hummingbird Chorus). How much more does he care about us? Here's one hint: "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Luke 12:7
I'm so glad God loves us whether or not we understand all the "Thee"s, "Thou"s, Moabites, Jebusites, and Mustnotites in the Bible. And I really hope the two baby birds still in the nest make it.
Mama, how come when she smiles at you, Dad and JJ you stop everything and pat her tummy? This is my house, you know. Fine. If she wants to take over, I'll just hide under my favorite chair. You can just love your new favorite puppy all you want to. Love her all day. Love her all night. I'll just stay here. I'm fine.
Fine. We had a talk. She agreed to stop begging for pats on her tummy (at least when I'm in the room) and I agreed to stop growling at her and pulling on her ears.
And of course, just as the week-end was ending, they were fast friends --- once again.
Mama, when can Lexie come back to my house?
This is from the kitchen of some good friends of ours, Arlene & James, and they are just the sweetest people. Arlene has a new book coming out, "Losing Weight After Baby" and her new website has many, many wonderful resources and lots of fun stuff.
Also included is the story of their little Angel. She went home to Heaven in 2005 delivered pre-term at 26 weeks. The peace God helped them find through that time is quite a miracle. Maybe you know someone searching for peace. You can check it out in the article or video section of the website.
Arlene Pellicane is an amazing woman. You'll want to add this site to your favorites, new mom or not...
Go there! Enjoy!
Wasn't Fantasia something? Truly something.
As her song progressed, JJ quietly asked, "Wonder if that's her real hair color?"
During the amazing refrain, JJ again commented, "Mom, the background vocalists remind me of Veggie Tales --- 'The Bunny Song.'" Absolutely precisely accurate. I loved the shot of Simon watching the song - Simon watching the dance - well, Simon watching it...
I'm going to pull out that video (Rack, Shack & Benny, isn't it?) and watch it with the two puppies this afternoon. But no chocolate bunnies for them.
I know I've mentioned photos of the puppy cousins, but presently they are staying as far away from each other as possible....
This is the 'before' photo, when she was a puppy.
Miss Lexie sleeps in her large crate (she is a full-sized standard poodle) and Master Max may be a little concerned when it's bedtime. He, of course, sleeps at DJ's feet guarding and protecting should any bunny rabbits, owls, hummingbirds or goodness no, any coyotes dare enter our property. He is a very good protector. Until it's time for his treats!I'll do my best to take some fun photos the next few days. Maybe I'll get enough to make a calendar for you to order this Christmas....
I've got almost 100 songs on the list, and the selection is pretty broad. Each one is a tune that I dearly love or for which my heart holds special memories. There are songs that speak of God's faithfulness, our Hope, some movie themes from my Disney favorites (although I did remove the theme from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride after DJ heard it and gave me that look...). I've also included a surprise or two, so I hope when you hear those, you'll chuckle right along with me.
Another favorite recording of mine is Garrison Keillor's "Young Lutheran's Guide to the Orchestra" accompanied by a full symphony. But it was not on the selection list and it is about twenty minutes long. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to share it online if it's not all copyrighted by the good folks at "A Prairie Home Companion." They really make me smile. Lutheran or not.
Back at home, things were going beautifully. I opened the plastic wrap which had been created by the same folks who designed Fort Knox, saw that the mouse pad fit perfectly on our desk's pull-out tray.... Then the steam began to boil. DJ ran to find JJ with just these words: "Come check out Mom's explosion, there's a problem with the mouse pad." Not knowing which emotion to choose (laughter or frustration) I was hugely disappointed that the new mouse pad had some sort of problem or our old mouse had some sort of problem, but the bottom line is this: the old mouse does not work on the lovely ergonomic mouse pad. JJ promptly picked it up, smiled and moved it into his room, showing it its new home with his computer.
This morning (well, JJ's morning, which is much later than my morning) I heard a call from the kitchen nook, "Mom, there's a comic for you today...."
God bless the author of "Pearls Before Swine." Nothing helps a dreary Monday morning more than a good dose of laughter --- especially when you're laughing with your son about yourself...
Thanks to my special Cuz (the one who recently had the big birthday) who lives out in the wilderness in the Midwest for sending this to me. He's a great Dad and Granddad. I am sure he is not part of this video. Nope, those guys must be first timers who work long hours and are rarely home....right?
Enjoy. And be sure to order dessert tomorrow. You're entitled.
Big Hugs and an Extra Grin,
A Mom with a Grateful Heart
I met my friend Claudia, who shall now actually be known here as Claudia since the whole blogging world (ooh, almost sounds like a bad term, doesn't it!) will know her name from the other site... Well, I've digressed again. -Coffee Break- God will forever bless my DJ for the gift of the coffee maker that uses real whole beans so our house smells like Starbucks --- I LOVE IT! Now back to Claudia....Her father used to say, just generally, when he met people, "We're just two old friends that never met." That describes my friendship with Claudia completely.
I hope you'll be able to take a couple of minutes and go here to check out the story. A comment is a vote and I really hope to win the accompaniment track they're giving away as a prize. hmmm. Doesn't this make you curious?
If you decide to submit your own best friend story, please let me know. I'll vote for you too, because that's just what friends do. This is not the North Carolina Primary...
JJ and I took Master Max in to see our veterinarian. (Our good doctor is married to a long-time friend, so we tend to feel we're just visiting... Well, all of us except for Max feel that way. He's petrified.) He says Max is doing great. He's the perfect weight, has good teeth and seems fine. All the while, Max was desperately clinging to JJ hoping this tall man would just walk out the door and stop pestering him.
We're doing all of JJ's laundry since Easter. He saved it -- must have been too busy studying.... and listening to the sound of the dryer with the smell of fabric softener - knowing it's JJ's stuff and he really is home for three months just makes me warm and fuzzy also. I know, way too sentimental, but that's what happens right before Mother's Day.
My best friend sent me a lovely bouquet. Online. No, she didn't order it online...she sent it to me online. So now it's my wallpaper. That will make me smile for weeks. Then I'll replace it with a photo of a trip to Disneyland, the beach or SeaWorld. But not right now. I'm going to enjoy knowing my friend was thinking of me. You see I'd shared with her that in our recent tree-trimming adventure, we lost our most sentimental Giant Bird of Paradise plant that had just blossomed for the first time in twelve years.
Thank you, thank you sweet Joy! (Get it, 'Sweet Joy' and she has a blog full of desserts....) My cooking skills are right up there with Ray's wife on Everybody Loves Raymond, so when I see people who can cook and create like our darling Joy, I am amazed. Truly amazed! Thanks again for sharing your creations with us, Joy!
And now, with a little drum roll please.... I have the pleasure of awarding this award to a few bloggers of my choice. Here we go:
Elaine at Peace for the Journey definitely blesses me every time I read her beautiful insights. She shares her love with such grace. And she likes my silliness.
Amy at Life and Times of Life at Home is another blogger that just plain makes me smile. She shares her life, her kids and their innocence combined with great depth as they watch the clouds in the sky and learn about God together. She gently reminds us what is Important.
Mama at Beloved Mama has created a wonderful place for prayer requests, reports of answered prayers and shares from her life with the great stories about Baby B putting all his treasures and some of hers in the trash. How can we help but smile with her life!
Liz at Kentucky Bound most certainly gets an award for best photos of the year at this time. If you've not seen her Eden post, it's a must!
Mama at Faith Hope Love also blesses me with her honesty on this journey. She captures innocence in her children's lives and shares beautifully.
Sister Sheri at The Leaking Window has just returned from the trip of a lifetime and the photos and insights she is sharing from visiting Israel, well, they just make me jealous, plain and simple. But I'm ever so happy for her, too! :)
So there we have it. My arms extend out to each of you five, and I hope you'll realize you're getting an ever so large hug from Grace Today, and you bless me every day. Just like my Best Friends...Oh, yes, JJ is home. We went out to celebrate and I got just a touch of food poisoning, so this was not the best morning to discuss the 'celebration' if you know what I mean.... But the hugs were good and strong all around and we're thankful. Summertime. Love. Chocolate. Good things.
The reason for the big Whoo-Hoo shout and holler in the true Oklahoma manner, is that JJ is almost home. I don't exactly know what the prodigal son's father felt way back when, but this has to be fairly close. JJ is in no way a 'prodigal' but we sure can't wait to see him about dinnertime tonight! Max knows something's up - he can always tell. DJ has called me frequently today (just to check in) and DJ rarely phones home unless he needs directions somewhere or will be an hour late or he's been given tickets to a baseball or football game, you know, important stuff...
On days like today, when the excitement seems to drip off the walls, I always find myself wondering something else. It always happens. I wonder if our "Cloud of Witnesses" knows when someone from here is on their way about to arrive there. Don't you wonder that once in a while? I think they do know. And I think my excitement here today is absolutely nothing compared to what that will be. They probably have the best balloons ever in colors we haven't even ever seen yet. And the ice cream for the cake is unimaginably wonderful!
But for now, for today, I'm going to go make a red velvet cake and get the grill ready for our Cinco de Mayo fiesta with our very special home-for-the-summer son. Whoo-Hoo!
Back to this post...my friend J-Banana, who is ever so intelligent and I am so very proud of her, sent me some photos along with her message. J-Banana was a music major just like I was and then she went on and actually learned how to not only do Radiology, but in fact, teach it. When I think of her as Miss Grown-Up-Know-It-All standing up there in front of her classes and I picture her wearing her white coat pointing with her laser pointer, using very long words with lots of syllables, I have not ever pictured her at home snuggling with this:
Please allow me to introduce you to "Miss Bambi." This little angel is certainly one of the cutest puppies on the East Coast.
Sometimes e-mail can bring a wonderful gift, like photos from your Best Friend. Thanks, J-Banana. You made my week-end.
"Please Mama, please make them stop all the noise...."
I cannot honestly think of a better way to celebrate our National Day of Prayer today than encouraging all of us to take our cue from little "Orange." As you can see, his ribbon is orange, so that was his name at birth....but after this photo happened....I heard he was christened "James."