Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Ramblings

Imagine my surprise when I started typing this post that it was coming out in Hindi!! Somehow I had enabled something gadget/widget option ....who knows. And though I have often thought of myself as an "enabler" (someone codependent ...a possible cause or an accessory in the event of anyone I have ever met doing anything crazy, insane or foolish), I never ever wanted my posts to be typed in Hindi! (not that there's anything wrong with that!) I guess I need to keep an eye on my myself better. Sheeesh! Anyway, this post is now "disabled" and as you see I am able to type in my native tongue or something which closely resembles it.

New Year's Eve! A day to reflect.....a day to clean out......a day to "lay up" on the sofa and watch a movie? Well, let me just say I have been dusting and straightening, but I am not up for taking down the Christmas jazz just yet. We didn't get it all up until a couple of weeks after Thanksgiving, so it seems to me it needs to stay up just a bit longer. The house always looks less friendly without snowmen staring from every corner, so hey, lets just let them stare a bit longer. I am also not up for making any life changing resolutions. When I think back on my life the biggest changes were those which seemed to just happen, but in hind sight to be perfectly placed and timed.

Back to the reflecting part. I have made many a New Year's Resolution only to have it broken, so no more of that. I am only going to make two attempts and that is to eat healthy and pray more frequently and for longer periods of time. I will be praying for you and I will praying for myself. Hopefully all the other would be resolutions will be unnecessary in this light. After all our heavenly Father wants us to be whole and fulfill His purposes. So if I keep my eyes on Him, pray and listen.....listening being the toughest part for me (being pumped up on sugar pretty much keeps me from listening :/)..... all other things will fall into place and I will have no doubt about walking in the paths put before me so very, very long ago. (I am talking about "before the foundations of the earth" long!)

"Cop out!" you cry. Well, maybe, but for me it is my feeble attempt to not give myself yet another to do list, or set myself for failure or another opportunity to beat myself up for not measuring up. I want to see each day as a gift, an opportunity and a blessing. We are never promised tomorrow, but we do have today and each day can be just what the Lord desires...if we can just hear from Him. Yes, the scripture does say, "Be yea perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect", but as overwhelming as this scripture is, I know He also sent Jesus because He knows we are not perfect and will never be so. Only by allowing Jesus to actually become my covering and trusting Him to supply that perfection/righteousness will I ever come close! Hence the praying part is CRITICAL. And I confess that although I do pray, it is not near enough and usually I don't enter into His presence during that exercise.

So here is the plan for 2011 Eat (properly for a change to help my ability to focus), PRAY (which includes the listening part I mentioned), Love (the bi product of praying for people.)

Hey! Crazy as it sounds, that might make a good book title!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A very nice Christmas.....

It was a lovely Christmas.....but with all the baking and preparation it is now history and leaves me feeling a bit low......I wish I would have snapped more shots.....but that is per usual. I guess when you are enjoying yourself and are "in the moment" you just don't think about taking pictures.

I wish I had my own fur coat so I could go out in the cold.
Frazier chatting it up with Lindsi. (He was really telling her something important!) I didn't get Patrick's pic....sorry Pat! Pat and Lindsi are going to be parents and were asking Josh and Randi questions and observing Frazier. They know they are in for a big, big change and are trying to prepare. I think that is half the battle. Being parents will make them better people just as it has been doing to parents for generations.....more selfless.....can't help it. Love for your kiddos has that effect of parents and that is what makes them such a blessing.

Even Josh enjoyed helping this time.

2000 piece puzzle all the way from Belgium, sorta......we have finished and are on to the next one already!

Cute Jammies! Thanks, Nama!

I wanted a quick pic and neither of them we on board for sitting still!

Favorite time! Can't help but love bath time even if your fingers and toes prune up.

Visit with cousin, Anna. Frazier was mimicking the jingle pals and naturally it was adorable!

Going to Mae Mae and Pops for a visit!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Few Shots

This is the 30th year anniversary of this little car! New and improved with eye balls! These pics were taken at Frazier's Great Grandparents. He thinks a guy can't have too many grandparents! They always have a REAL tree and that is a treat as we never do! Maybe next year :) .
What! A giant bumble bee. Frazier made a buzz sound telling us "what the bee says".
The Cuffari's sent a bee for Frazier to hug on while he watches The Bee Movie!
Josh is in the background getting a Merry Christmas text from HS bud, Patrick.
I have some talented daughters in law! Randi beaded this basket and spoon to match!

Wow Jeannie!!! How BEAUTIFUL....this must have taken a lot of time!

Randi and Josh talk to Belgium on their Skype.

The "fun" part about Christmas is the assembling!

Randi loved the gifts everyone sent to Frazier. Thanks everyone!

Randi and Frazier came out to see the helicopter fly! Great job, Dad!

Josh with his remote helicopter. We thought he might like a toy....we know that boy!
Jim and Soph....notice Sophie's tongue....what in the world. Maybe she was mad a someone.

Trying out his new bike....which Daddy can steer. Very cool!!! Thanks Walmart :)

Grampa Jim and Frazier walking Sophie. Frazier loves to walk the fuzz!

Christmas Eve Crawfish and Taco soup fest after church :).

More pics to follow.
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Celebrating Christmas.

Each year you will find me Celebrating........... Dec. 25th.......a day to enjoy fellowship with family and friends......a day to enjoy the sights, sounds, and the wonderful scents and flavors of the the season.....and a day to reflect on the birth of God's son and His role in history and most importantly the role He plays in our daily lives and ultimately our place in His eternal kingdom. And even after being a Christian for nearly 24 years I sometimes find it tough to wrap my head around the incarnation..... fact that God was born in a barn, walked among us and was willing to teach men about His kingdom and to ultimately lay down His life (very painfully I might add) so those who believe can be with Him in eternity, but I believe it with all of my heart.
This is Christmas.
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
2 Corinthians 9:15

Friday, October 15, 2010

Time to Dig In

It's that time again. We have started going to our Community Group and most of us have seen very little of each other over the last few months. We have a lot to catch up on and we have missed seeing each other.

We've started a new book, The Attributes of God (vol. 1), a Journey into the Father's Heart by A. W. Tozer first written in 1957. Here is a taste, "What I believe about God is the most important thing about me." (Stay tuned .)

But let me just say, going to Community Group every Wednesday is a battle. I feel sure the enemy of our souls would rather I stay home and he as always makes it very tempting to do so. Thoughts pop into my head.....I need to stay home because I should correct some school papers or I feel a sudden impulse to take a nap or watch my favorite news programs. There is always a reason which seems logical why I shouldn't go. Yet most times I shove those thoughts aside and I push on. I grab my bag (Bible, notebook, book we are reading) and keep going...and let me go on record to say no matter how exhausted I feel, I am always sooooo glad I did. Eric Little, of Chariots of Fire, speaks of sensing the Lords pleasure when he ran.....well, one way I sense the Lord's pleasure is when I purposefully go out of my way.....out of my comfort zone... to spend time with Him and His people. What does the scripture teach....iron sharpens iron. We can truthfully share with each other about our foibles and our frailty and pray for one another. We share our fears and our questions. What a gift! Thank you, Father God for giving me fellow believers to come along side to encourage, correct, comfort and especially love me regardless. It is the "regardless" that amazes me the most!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Goodbye to Grampa Rudy

Rudy and Grace in 1940 0r 1941

This morning (Sept. 20, 2010) I am flying to PA for my father-in-law's (Harry Rudolph Anderson's) funeral. He was 93 years old. As I have been packing there are so many memories going through my mind. Jim and I have been married for almost 31 years which means I knew Rudy Anderson for about 33 years give or take a few months. That doesn't mean I haven't always known who he was because he and his partner, Jim Eicher were known as the local builders who helped build Fallingwater in Mill Run, PA and also built so many of the prettiest homes in our little boro. I remember when they built a friend's house. I watched that house go up day by day all the while being in awe of how quickly they worked and how nice everything was. When the house was done.....well, let's just say I was hoping someday I would have enough money for them to build me a house, too! So I have admired Rudy for many, many years.

For 31 years Jim and I usually stayed in his (and Grace's) home on our yearly trip to PA. and he was always generous and gracious. We have played a lot of cards around the kitchen table on Smith Ave. and had many conversations about "the old days". Rudy had a fantastic memory for events and it always amazed me at the detail with which he could talk about his childhood. His stories of working on Falling Water and the problems they overcame in this endeavor are priceless. The PA Conservancy loved it when Rudy would come and talk to those people touring Fallingwater. I especially loved his telling when he and his partner, Jim Eicher drove west to Taliesan to visit with maverick architect, Frank Lloyd Wright and to see the school he had there. His first hand and detailed observations and insight are unmatched.

In the last few years it has been a tough thing to see someone who was always so busy and loved to work as much as he did get to a point where he was unable to do what he loved the very most. So today I am happy for Rudy because he now has a new body and is able to walk unassisted and wield a hammer and saw like he did when he was 25 years old.

So let me just end by saying I have always felt blessed to have Rudy Anderson as my father-in-law and I am praying the Lord has a wing he needs added for Rudy is just the man for the job!

Daughter and primary caregiver, Darlene giving a tribute to Rudy during his 90th party.

Josh, Randi, and Jim playing 3/13 with Rudy....everyone's fav.

Rudy and his kids three years ago.

Rudy saying hello to great, great grand, Hannah and her Grammie, Jeanie.

Jim and Chris chatting with Rudy on his front porch. 2009.

Sophie and Grampa

Jim reading Rudy his mail. 2009.

Josh and Rudy 1985.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 9-11-01

There are five times in my life when I was given news that shocked me so much I remember exactly where I was and what I felt like at that very moment.

1. When our school janitor, Mr. Rittberg stuck his head in my third grade classroom and told us President Kennedy was shot. It was not long after that he came back to tell us he was dead.

2. When my mother came in my bedroom and told me my father had been killed in a car accident on his way home from work.

3. While sitting at my desk at work the radio announcer stopped the music and announced that President Reagan had been shot.

4. When I came home from RJHS for lunch (when I was subbing) turned on the TV to catch the news and they were bringing bleeding people out of the Murrow building in Oklahoma City. I remember feeling such a feeling of horror and then suddenly a feeling of peace and an awareness the Lord was letting me know He was there with the victims and He was not only grieved but He was pouring out his love and grace on those injured. In that way this event was unique and I will never forget the Lord's tender heart..... His sadness......His strength.

5. It was a beautiful sunny morning at RJHS and we were watching Channel One news in the library. Coach Spradling always brought his class into the library because they didn't have a television in his classroom. I'd gone into the office to make a copy and Mrs. Howard, the guidance counselor was in her office and she told me a plane had hit a building in NYC. I went back to the library and turned on the television in my work room and motioned to coach Spradling to come see. A couple other teachers who had plan periods first hour came in because they'd been listening to the radio as well and wanted to turn on the TV. We had just turned on the TV and four of us stood there and watched as the second plane hit the other tower. We were all speechless and it was in that moment we knew this was not an accident as we had previously thought, we knew it was intentional ......and we knew it was HATRED ......and we knew it was EVIL. I called Josh who was in bed, a freshman in college. He promptly told me this was the only day he could sleep in and wanted to know why I would wake him. I told him to turn on the TV something bad had happened in NYC and I hung up.

More people came into the workroom to watch the TV ( I remember a copy machine repair guy I had never seen before squeezed in the tiny room with us.) Our principal thought it would be best if we didn't relay any of this information to the students in case some had relatives in New York City or in the military in case there were more attacks and we would be in a state of war on American soil.

Thinking back to third grade and President Kennedy, I wondered if that choice to insulate students would rob them of a moment that would forever live in their memories making them part of some sort of national and collective memory. Even as an 8 year old I felt part of something very large just knowing we (every American) experienced that collective shock wave going across our country at about the same time and that was all part of my memory. We were allowed to know and it made me feel somewhat equal with the adults for the first time. We all cried together and when I say ALL, I mean ALL! Even my Daddy cried and I had never seen that before. I knew our principal's motivation was to keep peace at school and also to keep the day as normal as possible. If I had been principal I might have come to the same conclusion.

We had to turn off the television and go about our day as if nothing had happened......but my mind was spinning and I knew my sister periodically went into the city on business, so I was concerned. Jim was also flying that day and I was unable to get him on my cell phone. Remember we didn't know what was happening or how many planes were slated to crash. For all we knew this was a nation wide attack.

Periodically, someone would come into the library and whisper more news. I had a class in the library and didn't know about the Pentagon being hit or the plane crashing into the field in PA. for a couple hours. The whole rest of the day is now a blur. I do remember getting Jim on his cell as he was driving to New Iberia. He had landed in San Antonio and all planes were grounded so he rented a car to drive to New Iberia and hadn't seen any of the television images, but had been listening to the radio. He said the traffic was insane. I remember thinking he needed to come home in case this was just the beginning of a nationwide attack.

I went home and called family and found out my sister's next door neighbor had a brother in one of the towers and they had not heard from him. I also found out Barbara Olsen, an author and commentator was killed in the plane going into the Pentagon. I stayed glued to the television and took comfort in the words of Rudy Gulliani and President Bush. I remember I cried.

Since those times I've read about the chemical reaction in the brain at times like this and how it sears the memory and is a different kind of memory. I know this is true because for a few minutes we are able to take a mental photograph. The room, the lighting, the other people in the room are all taken into account. Feelings are even recorded. Those memories are not filed in the same drawer with the others, but are kept safely in a dark quiet spot and visited rarely thus keeping colors bright and edges forever sharp as a knife.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Will it Blend?

Ever since Dave Letterman started rolling over canned hams and televisions on late night tv with a steam roller in 1982 I have had this strange attraction to seeing things get pulvarized. He also used to throw things off a tower in NYC. It was so insane it made me laugh. Needless to say Dave is far too calm for me these days and I rarely tune in.

I found a new web site that fills that crazy niche! Check it out! The iPhone blends quite nicely I believe.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Day in the Life

My sis, Julie, asked me to write a blog about what Frazier's typical day was like. She is so sad she lives too far away to spend some time with him....hopefully this will help, Aunt Julie.

Once upon a time in the Lone Star state lived a one year old boy named, Frazier. He lived with his above average Dad and Mom, and their above average (yet cantankerous) Yorkie-Poo, Gatsby.

Frazier, whose appearance was the perfect combination of his Mom and Dad, had a great life aside from the lava like temps which were fairly normal for summertime. He awoke each morning around 7 AM with a big smile and ready for another wonderful day with his Mom, Randi. Sometimes if he woke up really early he got to see Dad before he left for work.

Breakfast was not always the same but one of his favorites breakfasts was bananas, dry cereal and drinking a yogurt and fruit smoothy. He would sit and watch Mom unload the dishwasher or clean the floor or fold the clothes or a list of other chores. After he was finished he would chuck (in the north we don't say "chunk") his plastic smoothie cup on the floor just missing his fair weathered friend, Gatsby, by only inches. (Gatsby finds Frazier to be extremely unpredictable!) This would let Mom know he was ready to get decrusted and dressed. After donning his duds he would play with his toys a bit or talk to very tiny flat relatives in far away magical kingdoms on Skype. Then off for their morning walk with their friends, half being short like him who also rode in buggies. These Moms pushed their recently decrusted progeny who loved to rub bananas in their hair, too! Frazier rode and rarely slept like some of the other kids because he always listened closely to his Mom's sweet voice and he enjoyed the lovely park scenery and new sounds. After about two hours....they did not take their walking lightly, Mom would buckle Frazier back into his car seat and they would drive home in time for snack and maybe, just maybe a nap. Sometimes Frazier would decide to just wait and eat his lunch and take a nap after lunch.

Unlike his Dad, Frazier did not care much for naps. (Dad loved to grab a cat nap when he could.)Frazier would fight and fight to keep his eyes open, but after a little Mom time, he would fall fast asleep. The problem with this method was Mom was caught and if she ever slowly stood and ever so slowly tip toed to the crib to deposit her sleepy little man, he would always awaken and cry. Now don't get me wrong! Mom loved to hold Frazier, but she also had a lot of chores to do around the house and let's face it sometimes Moms need time to start dinner, wash their hair, do their nails or just read an article from Martha Stewart's magazine, Living. His Mom also was very crafty and had numerous projects going at all times and she also loved to write on her blog, Obladida. But Frazier was totally unaware of this and just thought that being with Mom was the best thing he knew and he knew Mom loved him. Sleeping on Mom's cuddly lap like a baby ....oh wait, he was a baby.....seemed like a great idea. He would sleep soundly and peacefully for up to two hours sometimes. This was a long time for Mom to stay put thinking of things she needed to be doing. So she started putting Frazier in his crib when it was nap time and sometime he would go to sleep, but sometimes he would cry before he did. That was painful for Mom as she was not happy about listening to this sweet boy get so upset and she knew he didn't know anything about Moms needing to have some time to do things on their own without baby help.

After nap time, Frazier was back to his cheerful self and was ready to GO GO GO again! He loved running around the house with his Fischer Price Popper or playing with his baskets of plastic veggie and fruits, driving his firetruck, running his sweeper (in the north we say we vacuum (v.)with the sweeper(n.) and mowing the imaginary lawn like Dad does every weekend as he stands and watches out the back door. He enjoyed having a few games of peek-a-boo and he also snacked on some goldfish or yogurt bits. He especially liked to get the little plastic goldfish open and dump the tiny yellow crackers all over the floor......then eat much better that way.

Sometimes Mom read a book to Frazier and he sat and listened or he took the book and tried to see if he could step on it to help him crawl onto something a bit higher. Books were fun to read but also seemed like great steps to Frazier and going UP was very intriguing. Getting to higher ground on his own was always great fun. This meant someone had to have both eyes trained on him at all times because one just never knew where he might try to go next and nobody wanted to see him get hurt.

Mom would begin working on dinner and Frazier would start watching the door for he knew it is that wonderful time of day when Dad came home. How he knew he wasn't sure, but he knew and when ever Dad was late Frazier was not very happy. He didn't cry, but you could tell he noticed and was very serious about watching that door to the garage to suddenly burst open. When it did he got SOOOO excited and Dad would scoop up his little buddy and kiss on him and toss him in the air. It really doesn't seem fair he was so ecstatic because Mom was the one who been tending to him all the day long, but Mom understood because she was very happy to see Dad, too.

Frazier would observe as Mom and Dad talked and shared all about their day while playing with him. Then they'd all gathered around their table for dinner and Dad would say the blessing. Frazier would listen intently while sitting in his beautiful red high chair eating his dinner all on his own. Sometimes he would also get into their conversations "talking" loudly and laughing along. He wanted to "talk" about his day too and they loved that he wanted to join the conversation.

When Frazier had his fill and he had pitched a few bits of food to his frienemy, Gatsby. Mom and Dad knew it was time to lift Frazier from his high chair, clean up the table, the floor, and the high chair, load the dishwasher, and take turns playing with Frazier. It would not be long and it would be bath time.

Because Frazier enjoyed his bath time so much, Mom and Dad loved it, too. They would use the baster to squirt water on his back and head and play with his rubber duckies and numerous other toys. Eventually he would swing that leg up on the side letting them know he had had enough time in the water and they'd lift him out and wrap him in his froggie towel or his doggie towel he would squirm and squiggle once again to get down. Mom and Dad would hurry to put on a clean diaper and some cute little jammies and would head to Frazier's room where they would play on the floor. Usually Dad read out loud, but sometimes Mom did, too. Frazier loved this time with his Mom and Dad. He couldn't imagine anything better than this. Then into his crib where his turtle (that projected stars on the ceiling!), his sheep (which played Jesus Loves Me) and his bear (that could simulate the sound of a heart beat) were waiting. Sleep was much more welcome at this juncture of the day and usually there was no crying as Frazier went off to dream land to recharge for another magical day in the land of lone stars.

Below are some recent pictures of my visit to see Frazier and his family. He is a little ball of energy and never stops going unless he is asleep. We had a lot of fun and it was fun observing this little critter in his natural habitat and seeing how well taken care of he is and also how much he is loved all the live long day!

Monday, July 19, 2010

One Whole Year Old Already!!

Is this not the cutest first birthday cake a little boy could have....and his Mom made it!

It is crazy that a whole year has passed since grandson, Frazier entered the world! Really, the older a person gets the faster the time seems to fly by. I told Josh that before he knows it he'll be helping Frazier find his first apartment. Josh looked at me like I was a nut (what else is new!), but I really feel like that some days and I want him to savor every precious moment he has with his first son. I think he and Randi celebrate the small things and really are stowing this moments away in their hearts.
Randi and Josh really know how to throw a beautiful birthday party with yummy burgers and delicious cup cakes. Randi has been planning and working on making this the perfect party for weeks and it really showed. If Frazier could voice his opinion he would chime in with an AMEN! He had a blast and enjoyed all the hub bub. I would know this because I watched his reaction to everything. You can't pay for entertainment like this.

Randi wrote a wonderful story of Frazier's first b. day on her blog . Check out her pictures! She has the eye of an artist.