Helpin' Mama Tonight

Well, Mama is busy, so I'm going to help her with this blog stuff. She says that her friend Elaine will be upset if she don't get somethin' on there soon, so I'll give it my best shot...

It's been quite a week-end here around Sunny and I'm not at all sure I'm going to forgive Mama & Papa anytime soon. They ask'd me if I'd like to go see Gramma & Grandpa and of course I got all excited when they said that because that always means a really long car ride and then Grandpa will usually give me some treats too. They did NOT tell me they were going up to the lake place and leaving me at Gramma & Grandpa's for three nights and four days.

Gramma was nice right off the bat. She got me some water in my bowl and put my food in a place away from that Miss Lexus and the rather snippity-snappity Miss Mercedes. Did I say three days and four nights yet? Yep. Miss Mercedes got in trouble first thing and had to go in her black cage. That was a relief, but the yipping-yapping didn't stop much at all. Miss Lexus wanted to play, but I was wonderin' about my papa and my mama. Big JJ left a few weeks ago and we haven't seen him around at all...

Gramma said my mama and papa went to the lake. She said they called and were having fun and saw lots of puppies up at the lake and missed me horribly, and felt bad that I didn't go to the lake with them. Don't do much good to tell a puppy that when he's trying to stand up for his own against a big puppy who wants all the hugs and a little yipper-yapper who clearly does not want my bowl anywhere near hers....

To fully complete my sleepover experience, I was left to find my own comfort and security outside, yes, outside in the back yard along with Miss Lexus for all three of those three nights. Miss Mercedes got to go upstairs and snuggle. Fine. Just fine. At least she left us alone; that's all I can say.

Two of the four days I did get a special treat and Grandpa took all of us for a run somewhere. I'd tell you, but I don't know the names of the streets up in Grammaandgrandpaville. It's somewhere close to where they have lots of water and sunshine and dirt. The dirt's kind of different and squishier. Grandpa got kind of twisted up with our three ropes. But we adjusted and it all worked out fine. He said I was in the wrong spot, but I was running just exactly where I wanted to run.

This morning, I thought all hope was gone. Gramma and Grandpa got those clothes on like Mama and Papa wear just that one day a week and I figured maybe this was going to be my new house 'cause maybe Mama and Papa had gone to be with Big JJ, and then....could it be true? I thought I might be dreaming... The big ol' fence opened and there was PAPA! It was really him!!! He'd come to rescue me from the struggles of the last three nights and four days. Then right behind him --- there she was too --- it was MAMA! Oh I began jumping and jumping and scooting Miss Lexus away because they were here, they were here, they were here!!! My Mama and Papa! I jumped so high I could give Papa kisses on his ears! Oh the relief. Puppies are rarely this joyful. Words simply fail me.

After a long, far-too-long time, we got in the car and made the long ride home. I've spent the evening fixing my pillows on the sofa, getting treats whenever they look at me and I remind them how much I missed them, and sleeping. I will sleep most contentedly this evening. Alone at the foot of Papa on the big bed. All is right with the world here in Sunny tonight.

And Mama promises she'll be back at Grace Today tomorrow.


And so...

Today we're back to our things. JJ begins classes. I've taken down our fabulous cave and we'll start preparing our new set today. DJ is in a new phase for his latest project. Master Max chased away the biggest coyote of the summer last night.... the list goes on and on.

Days come and go that seem fairly average and routine, pursuing life at its best and working toward accomplishing much...then you hear the news. You may see it in the newspaper, hear it on television or perhaps the phone rings late at night. Tragedy strikes again. It's amazing how often it seems to strike these days. And each time, we're surprised. We think "That couldn't be happening!" Not to my friend. Not to my friend's mother or father or cousin... Doesn't God understand? They have so much more life to do. They have brand new grandbabies ~ or haven't seen their kids marry or grandbabies arrive... "God, they can't handle this pain" we think. We don't understand. But this we know: God is with us and one day all our tears will be wiped away.

Please visit Beloved MaMa today and leave a hug. No matter how average your day is, please take time if you can...


To Have and To Hold

Who would've imagined...twenty-five years ago...

We'd be living in Sunny and have ocean views.

And a barbecue to use on Christmas Day.

With our fabulous grown-up son, JJ.
And our Max, protector of things large and small.

And love to last a lifetime.

Can't wait to see what's next...

"Love and faithfulness meet together." Psalm 85:10



Just a while back dear Liz at Kentucky Bound tagged me... That is always such a compliment. This one is titled, " The 7 Song Tag" and that sounded (sorry) like such fun. I'm supposed to list my seven favorite songs for this summer. The rules didn't include saying why I was enjoying them, but I'm going to go ahead and pontificate on that a bit.

  • Sand on My Feet recorded by Donna Summer on "Crayons" ~ It just makes me feel happy! I'm spending a lot more time at the beach or near it this year. And that's a good thing!
  • Amazing Grace/My Chains Fell Off ~ I love this Chris Tomlin version of the old hymn. It's right up there with the Wintley Phipps version, but that one isn't 'special' for the summer.
  • What a Wonderful World ~ I've always loved this song. It's on a couple cds that I have in the changer presently. (I know, I need an IPod. I'll bring that up with the Birthday Fairy also.)
  • Cuppycake ~ It's just so adorable. I heard it first on Amy's blog (Life and Times of Life at Home) and then my dear friend, CCR, referred it to me as well. So it's a double-hitter!
  • Summertime ~ An old favorite as well. I've got in on my playlist recorded by Scarlett Johansson. Nobody seems to know about 'Porgy & Bess' and I think it's cool that this young actress/singer recorded it.
  • Give Me Jesus ~ I fell in love with these lyrics the first time I heard Fernando Ortega and saw him sing it with the cellist and classical guitarist. Wow ~ That just sums it up.
  • It Is Well ~ as recorded by Selah. If you've read the blog, you'll understand. This is a classic hymn for all time, but given the circumstances of the spring, I hear this and remember God's faithfulness and the Peace He gives regardless of our situations.

So there we have it! I'm supposed to pass this on to seven friends, so here goes:


Oh Look Lindy!

I have slightly rosy cheeks after just moderating a comment from dear Elaine who asked "OK...Where Are You??" I must confess, I am honored to be missed. It's been a crazy week. I've no better answer than that. I could tell you I've been taking our dear friends here from Up North to see the beaches, spending lovely bits of time at SeaWorld, the Zoo and other fun spots here near Sunny... But that would just be bragging on how wonderful things are here in Southern California. Especially if I told you how absolutely beautiful the days have been without a cloud in the sky and completely perfect weather.... You just might end up not wanting to hear my accounts of life in this house any longer.

But ~ I will go ahead and tell you as I do owe dear Elaine an apology. I've also found myself without a camera once again as JJ has taken ours back to University. (My birthday is coming and I promise to ask the Birthday Fairy for a nice new little 8 pixel or mb or such.) Back to the visitors....

We've had a lovely time chatting about where life has taken us as we've not been able to visit face to face for twenty-five years. Seeing your college buddies after years is always a delightful event. There's something unique about seeing that same youthful spirit now enjoying life with grown-up obligations. I think Heaven may be a bit of the reverse... We're going to see our someones with a youthful exuberance and joy without the burdens of a lifetime. Doesn't that sound intriguing??? Oh, dear. I've gotten completely away from explaining to Elaine where I've been lately...

The night before our good friends were to leave to go back to Up North (at 5 am) we found ourselves looking through old crickety-crackety photo albums of a trip I'd taken to visit my friend Lindy at his home back in 1981. They were amazed I could find these photos, and DJ reminded them ~ she keeps everything... These dear friends had found each other years later than when this photo had been taken, (now here's the Paul Harvey-rest-of-the-story section) but in one of the pictures we found, Lindy is standing next to his bedroom dresser right beside the bottle of cologne his future wife had given him as a Christmas present when they were young adults and he was a busy young guy home from college. What a priceless photo!

Lindy with the Jovan Musk Oil.

I have a feeling he may be getting another bottle for Christmas this year...


Looking Ahead...

I need to write more in-depth posts here. I suppose I will "when the Lord leads..." (that's a saying from my childhood.) But I keep finding these great things to pass on, so for now, I'll just take it that it's my calling to be a spot for a smile. How's that! Perhaps when it starts to snow and we're brewing cider I'll have more deep heart-warming posts that move you to ponder truth deeply. In all honesty, usually the smiles I share are designed to do the same thing. But that's just between us, o.k.?

DJ was looking through some material at church this morning. He handed me this paper and commented, "This is absolutely the best advertisement for a Sunday morning class I've ever seen."

Attendance should be outstanding.




Once again...Jon has done it once again...it's a must read. Truly. Especially if you've grown up attending church with a married minister of music. If you've grown up Catholic, you could probably go to another blog and be more appropriately amused, but if you've been raised Baptist, Assemblies of God or maybe even Church of God, you do not want to miss this one. Especially if you had a minister of music who's wife did a lot of solos....


Almost Like Christmas

It seemed like an average Thursday yesterday...off to work, trying to get the phone situated (we have a new hands-free law here) and the sun was shining (I really love living in Sunny) on the drive in to the beach...

Mid-morning a new friend came by to help organize some things at the church and we just had a hoot of a time. We cleaned and cleaned, laughed and laughed and then went for a great little lunch just down the street listening to the seagulls the whole time. Later, and much to my delight, I picked up a box from the main office. It was a nice gift pack of ceramic stuff that came as a freebie! How fun! Then I opened a letter from another dear friend with photos she sent and a card to cheer my heart. Mid-afternoon, JJ phoned to say he'd made it and was unpacking at the University --- safe and sound. And then finally....here's the drum roll...boom, boom, boom, I received a delightful gift book and card from none other than Elaine at Peace for the Journey. I recently 'won' this book on her blog, but the note just made me teary-eyed. I opened up my e-mail later and had such delightful messages from friends near and far --- and thought, just like Pooh does when he thinks aloud --- "This is just like Christmas today."

So today, just because, I'm going to do everything I can to pay it forward so to speak... A little Christmas in August might be just what we all need.


What a Wonderful World

Does anyone out there remember when this is the way we approached every morning? "Well, look-y there! It's a great big wonderful world and we're going to make our place in it!"

JJ and Honey are set to arrive back at the University today. If you're a faithful reader here at Grace Today, you know they are recently engaged. They have so much to plan...the colors, the flowers, the date, the music, the minister, the dinner, the guest list. I'm sure there will be far too many lists. But that is part of the fun --- right? We've already assured JJ that there will be many, many, many conversations about these plans. He'll see magazines he never knew were in existence, we're sure. We pray for them every day, of course. One of our prayers is that the next year will be delightful and full of joy. And we'll let you know the colors they select as soon as possible...
from Lamentations, Chapter 3, 21b - 23:
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.


Life is Good

Aren't these guys handsome? It does seem that JJ has just passed up his dad in height, but they wouldn't do the 'back-to-back' thing and let me measure....

We had the most blessed summer and it was wonderful to have JJ home. He was able to work with DJ out on the site (DJ builds large homes) and they carpooled (or truck-pooled). JJ learned how to use a few new tools and DJ was able to introduce his son all 'round. What summer job could be better than that!

Thankfully we have our friends here from Up North and we're out and about all over Sunny for the next few days --- or we would be very, very sad. We still have some tears inside, but at least we have a good diversion. Master Max moped all around the house yesterday as JJ loaded up his stuff into the car. But then we got out the "Happy Machine" to grill steaks for dinner. Max went to bed quite happy.

And we know JJ made it to the first stop on his journey just fine. We knew he would, but you still like to get that call. We know he'll get there in good shape and have lots of fun on the drive out this week... Just like we know God has all his days planned out and He will be with him always... God even knows who is actually the tallest in our family...


Out to Lunch

We've had a lovely time this weekend visiting with some good friends who are here from Far Away. We're showing them all the sights in Sunny and laughing more than is probably legal. As JJ is loading up this morning to take off for University, it's been a good distraction as we usually get fairly teary-eyed to see him go.

Saturday we drove down to the harbor and amazingly passed by four weddings that were taking place there. Four! We chuckled at the first one and by the time we reached the last one --- well, we were just plain laughing out loud. You see they were all set up with flowers, rented chairs, arches, djs, buffets and all the trappings of formal weddings --- in places like parking lots, grassy areas just off the highway and, ridiculously, the last one we passed was in the middle of a traffic island. (I kept looking around to see where I should be smiling for the camera.)

As we were watching the wedding party having all their photos made in the middle of the traffic island, we heard the rumblings of a large truck. The wedding had obviously just ended. And there it came....Raphael's Party Rentals. They pulled up right behind the Bride & Groom, Moms & Dads and all the kin folk. Next thing we knew, they had carts loading up the flowers and pulling out the chairs from underneath Grandma.

The wedding just across the road on the lawn of the nice restaurant was just starting, so I'm sure they were watching the big truck also. But then again, maybe the two weddings were sharing the flowers....

We had a nice Sunday lunch with our friends yesterday. After I loaded the photos on the computer, I realized how much everyone here in Sunny is getting into the Olympic Spirit....

(DJ and our dear friend from Up North)


Back to Reality

Yes, our weekend was delightful and JJ is now packing up to go back to University out East. Or out West, depending on where you're reading this with your coffee and crumpets. Our dear Aunt Lu is coming over for dinner tonight and I needed to stop in at the Big Box store for a few things for our dinner.

I was searching and searching for something that seems to be moved every month. Not moved just across the aisle or up or down a shelf, but they must have some sort of goal to reach for using man hours to move things in that Big Box store. The stuff I wanted wasn't near the office supplies like they were in the last visit. It wasn't by the sunglasses like they were the previous month, or near the cds wrapped like gold from Fort Knox even. Nope.... when I found an employee after (well, I don't need to share that much of my frustration today) he told me I needed to look in the Christmas section.

Yes, I wrote that correctly. The Big Box store has Christmas goods out. Not a lot. But still, it's August 7th. I suppose out here in California, I should rejoice that he was bold enough to refer to it as the Christmas section. The Christmas cards are always under a sign that says, "Holiday Greetings."

I almost looked for some Christmas ribbon --- just to have on hand, but stopped myself. I'm not giving in. At least not until JJ is back at school, and we're finished with our summer visitors...


A Perfect Weekend

Some things are worth waiting for... We are so happy to share the news that JJ & Honey became engaged this weekend. I told them I would wait for them to post it on their various posting spots and I've tried really hard to be patient the past 48 hours.

The ring is beautiful, almost as beautiful as Honey --- no actually, she outshines it completely. And JJ is standing just a tad taller, I believe. We had a whirlwind for a few days, doing our best to help JJ surprise Honey. I think it worked. We went to a wonderfully romantic event last Friday night and then Saturday was the big day. She, however, thought DJ and I were completely absorbed with our household chores and I'm sure she wondered a time or two why we weren't interested in spending the afternoon with the two of them... I think she's forgiven us now.... DJ and I are so relieved we were able to pull off the surprise of having her parents here (from her home town a few hours away) to greet her as they walked in to 'tell us' the news. Too much fun ~ it's just too much fun!

Dear Honey & JJ,
We're praying God's richest blessings will always be with you.
We love you! Grace & DJ



Is it just me? It seems like the activity in Blog Land is way down. My dear friend who hosts Beloved Mama has actually posted "On Hiatus until August 10th." Where are the pictures of the lil' ones throwing household items into the toilet? Where are the memes? Where are the awards? Where are the Word-Filled/Wordless Wednesday photos??

These are questions I must ponder over the next few days. I can visit Peace for the Journey and Life and Times of Life at Home, or Joy of Desserts, I suppose. They have all been faithful bloggers through the summer. I just hope my wonderful friends who have moved to Kentucky, hosted VBS' and taken trips all across the country with their lil' ones have taken lots of photos and written down all the stories of the humorous adventures with family, and visiting the Corn Palace in South Dakota, because we bloggy friends need our bloggy friends.

"On Hiatus." "Oh, bother." xox, my friend...