It's Finally Here

Things will be a bit slow around "Grace Today" for the next week. I hope you'll understand. DJ and I will be heading out on the American Airlines jumbo liner soon for our trip out to the Midwest. The jumbo liner will take us as far as Dallas, and then we'll have time for lunch at the wonderful DFW airport. In Dallas we'll board a slightly smaller aircraft to go to Missouri.

We're so proud of our JJ. He and Honey, as well as Honey's sister, will be walking through the graduation line. I suppose I should pack a hankie or two... I've already ordered the DVDs of the two ceremonies. Thankfully I won't have to hold the camcorder.

We'll appreciate your saying a prayer or two for Max while we're away. He'll be staying with friends and snuggling on their sofas for a few nights. He likes them, so we're hoping it will be just as much fun as sleepovers for the Cub Scout troops.

I promise to take some fun photos and post them as soon as we return. And then the real fun begins...the wedding bells are getting all tuned up for June.


Take Me Out of the Ballpark

We were delighted to take friends out to the game last night. Our seats were fabulous and it was a gorgeous evening here in Sunny. I sent a couple of photos to JJ and a friend. "Wow, good seats!" was the ever-so-envious reply from JJ who is still off in the bitter cold wilderness of the Midwest.

About the sixth inning, the seats just across the aisle were freshly-occupied by two men that I thought were just horribly late. "Hey Joe," said one. "Can you see me on t.v.?" as he phoned his buddy. "Yep, I'm right behind home plate. We stole these seats." They'd also spilled an entire beer all over the floor within two minutes. The game went into more innings, so we had the lovely aroma for about an hour. It appeared to be a game to see how many of their friends could come occupy these seats and each new friend splashed the beer soup with their shoes.

As we sat there enjoying the fireworks after the game, I was oh-so-happy that these men had finally left. I suppose they were off to find Joe somewhere nearby.

Walking up the steps to the lobby, I was once again dismayed to see all the garbage (imagine it with a French accent) in the seats and covering the floor. Why do so many seemingly intelligent, thoughtful, polite and wonderful Americans feel it is all right to treat a ball park like an over sized trash can?

I don't get it. Any thoughts?

But I'm sure ~ we'll be back in a few weeks. And I'll sing along in the 7th inning stretch and cheer for the home team...


On My Street, He Lives on My Street

We just received a lovely directory and map of the homes in our new neighborhood watch area. I'm always impressed when someone takes time to do something really well, with lots of detail and spells things the correct way.

I glanced through the list, of course primarily to see if our names were there and they had them listed properly, and who do you think lives on our block? Mr. Rogers. Mr. Fred Rogers to more exact. My heart skipped a beat.

And then I realized that, sadly, that dear Mr. Rogers lives in the heavenly neighborhood now.

I may do a bit of spying on this man anyway. Just to see if he arrives home in a suit and comes out to get his mail after he puts on a blue cardigan and slippers.


Max - 1, Coyote - 0

"They're Baaaaccckkk!" Oh dear, it's that time of year again. Sunday night was the first time we'd heard the yipping, yowling and barks of the pack. The neighborhood dogs were united in their barking as well. We didn't see them then, but we knew they had taken up residence once more.

DJ will keep the large flashlight by the door where it will remain until the fall. He may set up the hut for tracking them with his BB gun soon, too. No ~ we've never actually done that. But JJ suggests it each year. "Come on, Dad. Let's get some straw hats, set up our chairs and chew on some hay. We can scare 'em away."

We didn't hear the familiar barking, yipping or yapping here last night. But Max heard them. And he took off in pursuit. Our little snugly critter who is petrified of the leaves from the eucalyptus tree as he hears them land on the roof of our family room. The one who also jumps in my lap when he hears the wind blowing or sees the rain falling, yes, he's the one who takes off to patrol the bushes.

I know they're God's creatures too, but I would be happy to see them all move out to the desert nearby...


Spring Cleaning

I was feeling fairly proud of my efforts today. I'd taken our fat broom with the very long handle and swooshed off every single edge of the windows, rain gutters and doorposts all around our house.

Then it dawned on me. I probably just killed Charlotte.


And Now, from a Guest Blogger...

I received this note today and found it to be quite special. So please join me in welcoming a few words from DJ's little sister who is all grown up and ever so successful living off in the woods enjoying the snow... (We have no understanding of why she left Sunny, but it seems she is quite happy off in the mountains. Good for her!)

Hey there! I had a dream last night that I thought I'd share with you. It was a pretty cool dream in that I was at a church service or more like a theater event and near the end of the event, Palmerine got up and took the microphone and started singing. She was singing in German or Swedish or something, but it was beautiful and she was having an awesome time.

When I woke up, I was thinking that's probably what she's doing today in heaven is performing a song to tons of people and having a blast!

Just thought I'd share :-) Have a great day!

This is a photo of our family in 1982 when we were ministering in Sweden. Thought you might enjoying seeing a photo of Palmerine from those days... And nothing makes your heart feel warm and cozy like hearing of someone who's dreamed of your mother and how happy she must be...


Real Men

I passed a Real Man this afternoon. He was standing next to his parked car. Right outside a costume shop near here in downtown Sunny. A rather large bunny head was on top of his automobile and he was trying to get all the pieces of the bunny suit back on the hanger "just right."

I don't know if was wearing it yesterday to be the Easter Bunny or if his wife is perhaps a children's pastor and she's worn out from the Egg Hunt, but regardless... He deserves a raising of the Sweet Tea Glass as only Grace Today readers can do...

Here's to ya!


What a Story!

"It's all true! I read the story in this big book. People saw Him! They saw His hands. They touched His side.

There are pages and pages to read in this story. I want to read them all... but it's going to take a few days to finish this! I want to know everything I can about Him. He sounds like someone I'd like to have for my Master.

But for right now ~ I'm going to take a little break and soak it all up. It's been quite an adventure so far and it looks like the best is yet to come."

photo by R.B. Anthony


What Will Be, Will Be...

It's been raining here and the skies are somewhat gloomy today. And Max is not happy. He's staying right by my feet and seems to want me to pick him up ~ unless I actually try to pick him up!

DJ thinks he may be feeling some earthquake trembling that we can't sense. Could be. I try not to think about earthquakes too often.

I grew up in Tornado Alley. That's my kind of natural disaster... If it gets you, it gets you, no preparation will help much. If it's not after you, you'll be fine. The drills in Elementary School were fun, too. We hid under our desks like little mice hiding from a large cat. We were supposed to stay quiet, but I think that was just the teachers' idea. I don't think quietness affects an F-5.

If you're at home when one is coming, you're supposed to go get in the bathroom and stay away from windows unless you have a tornado shelter. We had one of those, but it was pretty creepy. It was not stocked well at all. Just spiders and darkness. I was very jealous when I watched "Blast from the Past." That was a cool shelter! Remember "Twister?" I don't think you'd be too safe in any room of the house if a tornado was coming right for you. But that's just my opinion.

Earthquakes or tornadoes...both are great reminders to be prepared for leaving anytime. The best is yet to come, regardless...


Easter Centerpiece

It's that time of year we love so much - coloring eggs, pulling out the spring tablecloths and linens...Beatrix Potter (does anyone else think, "Trix are for kids" when you see her name?) and chocolate bunnies. I was watching Martha Stewart recently and saw a fun idea. I've planted grass seed in a basket that I hope will be full of lovely tall grass by Friday. So far...it's just dirt.

I plan on blowing some eggs to have the empty shells and coloring them one afternoon soon. JJ's still away, so Max will have to help. It should be interesting. I'll let him pick the colors.

When we're all finished and it looks lovely in our dining room, I'll post a photo for you. Right now though ~ like I said ~ it's just dirt.

Somehow, I think that may be similar to what God thinks when He looks at me. "She's got promise, once she grows a bit..."


Sunny Sunshine

We're now almost to the middle of Holy Week. It will probably get gloomy and rainy toward Friday. I've noticed that usually happens...But today it's extremely sunny and the perfect temperature for sitting on the patio sipping some sweet tea.

I doubt that the disciples had time to sip sweet tea during the first Holy Week. We do know they stopped to enjoy a meal together. Imagine it. Did they have any idea what was about to happen? Did they talk about their plans for summer and where they were going on vacation? Did they discuss their neighbors and how the cat keeps them up at night? Or did they soak in the presence of Jesus...

Sometimes I remember the last Easter I shared with my mother. We'd been to church quite early and played for a couple of services in the orchestra together. The family met together at Grammas to hunt for eggs. Right after lunch, DJ and I were in a hurry to get to the ballgame as I'd won some free tickets. We quickly scooted away barely taking time to say, "I love you" to them and dropped Mom off at her apartment. She was with us one more week.

I don't even enjoy baseball.

I think about that every Easter.


An Ocean View

We met at the Gliderport yesterday morning to say goodbye to a dear friend, Anne-Marie. It was a beautiful day with lots of sunshine and just the perfect temperature. No breeze, no wind, not too hot, just delightful.

Anne-Marie lived an amazing life and the hillside was full of friends who'd gathered together. It all started with a pancake breakfast outside. We were a teeny bit late, so we didn't get to enjoy the yummy treats. The next item on the agenda was an opportunity to share memories of her. They had a microphone set up and the host was a nice gentleman who wore a white shirt. I don't know his name, but he looked familiar.

The stories were sweet. Our friend was a bit of a rebel who also loved life dearly. She'd been a career flight attendant and flew small aircraft as well for the adventure of it all. Her husband, Michael, brought along their dog and she seemed very interested in all the stories and did a great job of staying by her papa.

We were able to release little packs of Anne-Marie's ashes out on to the hillside. It was a lovely grassy, flower-filled sight. And right as we began, a plane flew over us releasing most of her spirit into the sky. Two parachute jumpers began descending on us at the same time. There were toasts made, and cheers for her life right as a Scotsman began playing bagpipes in the middle of the field.

I hope Anne-Marie was able to see the love there. And I pray she has found another beautiful seashore to observe her Michael and their loved ones here.


Babies and Sunshine

It's been a "Goodbye", "Welcome Little One", and oh no, oh no, "Oh how do you say goodbye now?" week...

To sum it up and try to keep the tears back ~ we're off to a goodbye celebration for a dear friend in the morning. She had a favorite spot and we're meeting lots of friends there on what we hope will be a beautiful day to share stories about her and give her husband a big dose of love.

My good friend's niece and her husband welcomed their little prince into the world last Sunday. He's everything you could ever imagine about a beautiful little boy. The videos are simply precious. They include lots of snuggling and baby sounds.

My sweet-sister-since-two-thousand-and-four also celebrated the long-hoped-for adoption of her first grandson. He's as darling as little boys can be. His hair curls and curls and all the girls will want to be his girlfriend when they're in kindergarten.

We also heard that our other friends back home (in the Midwest) welcomed their little angel-baby granddaughter into the world, too. Her photos are just like you'd imagine a tiny newborn with all the frills and ribbons and love. Except this little angel only stayed here for a couple of hours. She'd gone on to Heaven and I can't begin to imagine... well, I can't even express it.

I remember when my dear dad was passing away several years ago. It became so real to me that people lose their special someones somewhere every day. I decided to be more patient when I'm driving by the hospital near our house. And understand a little bit more when someone is irritated for no obvious reason.

And I also decided to celebrate the joys of births and adoptions and weddings and anniversaries as much as possible. These are the good days. And maybe someday I'll understand why the hard things happen. Maybe someday.


As Fast as a Weed

Last week, before we heard about the situation on DJ's job site... DJ brought this down for me from our hill. It's just a silly ol' weed, but look at it! It's two feet taller than I am!

We didn't keep it. And DJ thought it was quite silly of me to take the picture. But I had to share it with you.

Happy Weekend!


Some Days It's Hard to Wait

Do you ever find yourself just dreaming about our next life? It's cloudy here today, and for some reason, clouds bring heaven and all my family there to my mind. I imagine they're having pancakes, laughing, rejoicing, watching and loving all of us.

Although, they may still have to do laundry. I can't seem to find laundry duty listed in the Bible. Eating is mentioned there, as well as talking and maybe dancing. Heavenly dancing... hmm, I wonder if it has to be choreographed.

Until then... we'll wait to know. And we'll have so many answers. Answers to questions we probably haven't even considered.

Any ideas are welcome as comments....


No Joke!

"Howdy Neighbor!" We had our first Neighborhood Watch meeting last night. There have been a few close calls lately and one home was broken into during the daytime while the owners were home. Along with our prowler situation last October, it seemed only right to attend the meeting.

There were four uniformed policemen there as well as the nice gal who led the meeting. She didn't have a gun, but she was wearing a lovely embroidered polo shirt that told us she was a Crime Prevention Specialist. I left with a nice magnet for the fridge that says the name of the police department in large print, but has the phone number in a much smaller font with red type on black print. We're also planning on getting a "Beware of Dog" sign for our house at their encouragement. Our neighborhood will also receive several brand new signs to let people know we're watching them.

About ten minutes before the meeting was over, a home security alarm went off just a few doors down. It was priceless watching the policemen as they decided to go check it out. I guess normally it would be up to the security company to respond... The policemen came back a few minutes later ~ everything must have been fine on our street in Sunny. Hopefully, it will stay that way.