They Grow

November, Thanksgiving, 2009 344 crpThis is not a news flash.  It is well known throughout the generations.  When one has an infant, they spend many hours worrying about the infant’s health–if they are thriving–growing–getting enough nutrition.  They soon brag about the percentile and what size clothing the baby wears.  Next comes the new and interesting things that the baby, then toddler can do.  Then there is reading and losing teeth, and before you know, both of your infants are taller than you.

November, Thanksgiving, 2009 247 ps crpSuch is the case at my house.  I am trying to get all of my digital photos onto USBs so that I don’t have a catastrophic event and lose them all.  Alas, I am also trying to sort through them to delete the ones that aren’t good and to adjust the ones that need some TLC to remove red eyes or lighten a dark shot.

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Renfest, 2009 Blog_019 crpThis is dangerous business at the end of the school year.  This Momma is worn slap out and is already thinking about what photos to send for Victoria’s “Senior Sunday” slideshow next May.  The time.  It goes.  The kids.  They grow–and grow–and grow–and then they go too.

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November, Thanksgiving, 2009 280 ps2 crpAnd that is as it should be.  If they get stuck, or don’t thrive–if they aren’t successful, then other sadnesses arise.  This sadness is a good one.  My children are thriving, growing, learning, and they are just such GOOD kids.  But, oh, the the sighings of the heart–the tightening of the throat–the loosing of the tears over the discomfort of stretching, stretching apron strings.

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Happy Easter

blog Easter, 2015 063Because of all the wonderful things that God has done for us–we get to enjoy days with family remembering the sacrifice of His Son that not only gives us beautiful days with family on this earth, but also gives us the confidence of beautiful days with family forever.  We are truly blessed.

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Does it ALWAYS take this long?

This school year seems to have taken a bit longer to calm down. . .and I am hopeful that I’m not speaking too soon about the calming.  We have a new principal who is GREAT–but VERY young and VERY high energy.  Therefore my teaching (which wasn’t lethargic before) has also grown in intensity.

I am also teaching a new subject this year.  It is an elective called “Exploring Languages” in which we–wait for it–explore languages.  We have covered Shakespearean English, Greek and Latin Roots, and Spanish.  Now on to French.  It is an experiment.  I know no French.  I have no French students.  Everyone is about to be on even footing as far as languages go.

Thad is at the Jr. High with us this year–and we love it.  Only TWO stops each morning instead of three.  He has grown an insane amount in the past school year–even over the summer–even SINCE the summer.  His voice is also in the process of changing–there isn’t a lot of cracking, but there is a difference. He has been somewhat determined as of late to NOT be photographed.  It is an obsession.

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I only managed to get this one after we had a “chat.”  He has grown about a half an inch (or more) since this was taken at the end of July.

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And this one when MawMaw came to visit in August.

Processed with MoldivMawMaw and Victoria small(Victoria and my mom. I love this picture.)

Victoria has a boyfriend.  His name is Hunter.  He is a Junior just like her, and they have known each other since 7th grade. They both CLAIM  to not have “liked” each other that long.  Either way, there was enough discussion of Hunter in our car and at our house that I took a photo of them together the night they were inducted into Jr. National Honor Society at the end of 7th grade.

2011, National Jr. Honor Society 050They were both inducted into National Honor Society in the spring, and I WANTED to get a picture of them together again, but I feared that the indignant “Moooooooooooooom!!!!!” would be hanging in a conversation bubble above the high school parking lot even now.  In the photo below, Hunter was about 12 feet away to the right.

Harding, NHS, 4.14 151And here is Homecoming which happened this past weekend.

Homecoming, October rsz ps 2014 072 Homecoming, October 2014 rsz ps 006AND the Homecoming hair extravaganza.

photo(45)The truck was crushed beyond repair this summer.  A tree decided that 21 years was long enough for the truck to be in service.  It was a sad, sad day.

photo(42) rszThe bumper was already like that–and the hood was already missing paint–but the tree did some significant engine/frame/body/radiator damage.  Tony still held out hope that it could be repaired. . .to the extent that when the Body Shop lady called and he asked her, “So can it be fixed?” she laughed for nearly a minute solid.  Then she apologized for laughing.  Then she laughed some more.

June, 2014 624SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. . .Tony got this bad boy for his birthday.  My brother gave us the nicest congratulatory message.  It was, “Tell Tony that I hope this truck lasts him twice as long as the last truck did.”  We can’t wish for more than that.  A new truck every 21 (or 42 as the case may be) years ‘taint bad.

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And these blossoms were picked at the end of my walk this evening.  Victoria was with me for a bit–the weather has cooled off (for us), and we opened the windows in the house.  Ahhhh. . .fall.  photo(41)rsz   Our weekends have been packed, and our days and evenings have been packed, but we ALL came home at a reasonable time tonight, and everyone is under THE STRICTEST of instructions to not accept any invitations for this weekend.  We plan to stay in our pajamas and play Clue!

Sixteen

My Girl is 16.  She had a party on July 18th.  She wanted a lemon cake with lemon icing, and so it was just simple.  But there were 16 candles (no Molly Ringwald) and a bunch of friends–lots of giggling and games (Hide and Go Text).BDay 876I can’t remember why she was so tickled, but I’m glad I caught it.

Blog Bday 881Her REAL birthday was the 27th, which was the day the youth group left for church camp.  I REALLY wanted her to have a surprise, SO I bought a cake from HEB (This caused a pause at the HEB bakery.  I assured them several times I did NOT want it crumb coated OR iced plain–I wanted it NAKED.)  Then I took it to church, made cream cheese frosting, gussied it up and VOILA.  A surprise.

Bday 012This is the look you get from your 16 year old daughter when you come out of the church kitchen singing happy birthday and carrying a great, big cake.  And if she was a little embarrassed, everyone else was THRILLED that there was cake to be had.  I can HIGHLY recommend an HEB white cake with homemade cream cheese frosting. YUM.

Bday 042Her reaction was the same as Thad’s, “MOM, that makes THREE CAKES!!!!!” (One for her party, one we made at home the day before because she didn’t KNOW about the surprise cake, and one at church.)

BDay 043More from her party at home on the 18th.

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Happy Birthday, baby.  I am the world’s most blessed Momma, and I’m so glad I have you.New owners V

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Study

January 9th of 2014 marked the fifth year in our “new” home.  And five years is not really a long time to be in a home.

My mother has been in hers for 48 years.

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View across the pasture from Nanny and Grandaddy’s house where Daddy grew up and where my sister now lives.

Tony’s parents have been in theirs for about 52.

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Tony’s parents’ bedroom the Sunday morning we finally got to go back into our home after the fires. . .back when Victoria was shorter than me and we were both very tanned. I need more pictures of their house. The chandelier is an original.

We lived in the Copperfield house for 12.

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In the two pictures prior to this one, Thad was pointing at the sold sign and sticking his tongue out. He and Victoria weren’t too hip on moving.

We had one last “hold out” as far as rooms went, though.  For five years, the study served as the last repository of moving, filled with boxes and junk galore.  We had a full week for Thanksgiving this year, and Tony was inspired to get the study in shape.  That he did.  We all pitched in somewhat, but he had a vision, and took the reigns.

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He moved the furniture to one end (it was a perfect fit). He built a frame for the world map out of old fence planks back when we were in the old house. Now it’s finally on the wall for which it was intended. The chess set is actually multiple games that my mom gave him long ago. He was very glad to finally get them on the table.

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More Anthony Langley Original fence plank frames on the opposing wall. The other map is of Camp Philmont. The rug was intended for the dining room but turned out to be too small. The green chair was in our room, and I miss it, but it’s so nice in here.

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Looking out the study doors into the living room. The shelf above the doors is yet ANOTHER Tony original, and I’ve already shown a photo of the grape wreath I made from our own grape vines.

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Treasures on the shelf: Eagle Scout award, Teacher of the Year award, wooden giraffe he made in wood shop in jr. high or high school, campaign poster for Bellaire City Council, log chewed in two by genuine beavers in Colorado, his grandmother’s rotary dial phone from her New Orleans home, a commemorative Astro Dome tin from the last baseball game played there, and a shadow box (also made by my wood-working husband) containing the shell of the largest crab he’s ever caught as well as other miscellaneous things either made or treasured by him.

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Blood donation mugs atop the study furniture.

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And the pièce de résistance. . .a large photo of him and his buddies in the beloved campsite doing what they do there. . .except they are normally all three in hammocks–this was an effort to show the main activities simultaneously.

We have all enjoyed the study.  It’s a lovely placed to sit (in the green chair) and talk on the phone.  The table is used by Victoria and Tony a lot–the computer by all of us.  Sometimes I just like to walk in and enjoy the calm and the silence.  Although I think Thad would have preferred to have kept the furniture out.  It’s easier to wage war that way.

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Making Stuff

I saw.  I pinned.  I made.

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This was not my idea.  But I ran with it.  To see the original, make clicky.  I happened to have TWO of those frames in my closet as I game them for gifts a couple of years ago and have yet to put mine together.  It’s good I had two as I broke one of the panes during construction.

Lest you think that our Sunday and Monday were easy, breezy, let me assure you that they were NEITHER.  Alas, they are gone, gone, gone. . .or mostly gone.  Today I accomplished losing my cool with my son BEFORE school, speaking as little as possible to my students during the day as it was the safest plan for all of us (they watched the beginning of Anne Frank:  The Whole Story), and pinned lots and lots of organizational things and created work charts and helped with homework and served left-overs for dinner.  And now. . .a BLOG POST!!!!!

Plus, I had an excuse to be creative and playing with fonts and pretty paper ALWAYS helps.

Victoria and Thad both (wisely) LOVE our new activity calendar.  Victoria picked Monday’s font as that was the day of HER birth.  Thad got to pick Tuesday for the same reason.  I picked the rest and it was F-U-N.  We have a large calendar on the fridge, but this one will be one to which I can point when someone asks if something ELSE can be crammed into our week.

Sadie’s Lamp

2011, January 081This lamp belonged to Sadie Williams.  She is a woman I never met.  I may have seen a picture of her, but I could not identify her if I saw the photo again.  Despite all of that, I have known this lamp for about twenty years and owned it for at least eight.

It was delivered to me at a school where I was teaching by some missionaries who were headed to Italy.  It had traveled from Texas to Arkansas, then back to Texas.  I have discovered via The Mighty Google, that it is called a “Gone With the Wind” lamp and that it is a reproduction as it is electric (the originals were just highly decorated hurricane lamps that used kerosene).  GWtW lamps came into vogue after the release of their namesake movie, so I will assume that my lamp was produced sometime after 1939.  A part of it has been replaced–the very top metal bracket with the key is a shiny brass that does not match the rest of the metal.  I don’t know if it was Sadie’s or Sadie’s mom’s as Sadie was a teenager when the movie was released, but it is now mine and lives in my bedroom.

Sadie’s lamp is very old-fashioned and has huge tea roses painted on both globes.   If Sadie’s lamp had a scent, it would be a combination of Merle Norman face powder, and rose scented talcum.   It is a very feminine in a grandmotherly, time-gone-by way.  It is a rather large lamp, and it takes a certain person to appreciate it aesthetic qualities.  But anyone–anyone at all–would be able to recognize the loveliness of it’s light.

They key has three functions.  Click one:  the bottom globe is lit.  Click two:  the top globe is lit.  Click three:  both globes are lit.  Both globes give a nice, golden glow to a room.  It’s enough to read a book by, but not enough to disturb someone who might be sleeping.  The top globe lit alone is not a function that is normally used by us.  The bottom globe lit alone is the one we use the most–just one click is all it takes.

When a child is sick and needs to sleep on a pallet in the floor with a bowl near their head or enough light to make it to the bathroom–Sadie’s lamp (click one) is the light that shines.  If either Tony or I go to bed before the other and we want to leave enough light so the night owl can find their way across the room–Sadie’s lamp (click one) lights the way.  If there is anything unsettling that may need attention in the night, but we want to rest until it’s time to go into action, Sadie’s lamp is the sentinel that keeps the time.

I got Sadie’s lamp from this little girl.

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Isn’t she cute?  I love her angel costume over her blue jeans–the north Texas wind blowing her blond curls–the shadows of the bare tree branches on the wall of her home along with the shadow of her Daddy taking her picture right below.

This little girl grew up to be My Friend, Carolyn.  She has been my friend now for twenty six and a half years.  Sadie was VERY NEARLY Carolyn’s aunt.  Of course, had Sadie BEEN Carolyn’s aunt, then Carolyn would have been a different person and might not have been my friend.  Chances are high that we would never have met at all.  The story of how Sadie was not Carolyn’s aunt after all  is a sad one.  It involves World War II and a girl back home who was waiting for her fiance to return.  I will tell it sometime, as it is very, very important.

However, for today we will just look at Sadie’s lamp.  The fact that it sits in my room in Waller, Texas after a detour FROM Texas to Arkansas, then back to Texas is an amazement to me.  The fact that the cute, little girl in the angel costume is my friend is an amazement to me.  How she even came to be my friend and the impact it has had on my life, the lives of my children, the lives of HER children (and grandchildren) is an amazement to me. The fact that God in his infinite mercy and wisdom and grace takes sad stories and brings good things from them is an amazement to me.  It reminds me of this poem that I have loved since one of my teachers in high school showed it to me.

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Bits and pieces.
Bits and pieces.

People. People important to you, people unimportant to you cross your life, touch it with love and carelessness and move on. There are people who leave you and you breathe a sigh of relief and wonder why you ever came into contact with them. There are people who leave you and you breathe a sigh of remorse and wonder why they had to go away and leave such a gaping hole. Children leave parents; friends leave friends. Acquaintances move on. People change homes. People grow apart. Enemies hate and move on. Friends love and move on. You think on the many who have moved into your hazy memory. You look on those present and wonder.
I believe in God’s master plan in lives. He moves people in and out of each other’s lives, and each leaves his mark on the other. You find you are made up of bits and pieces of all who ever touched your life, and you are more because of it, and you would be less if they had not touched.
Pray God that you accept the bits and pieces in humility and wonder, and never question,
and never regret.

Bits and pieces
Bits and pieces.

Lois A. Cheney, (God is no Fool, 1969)

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Tomorrow, September 30th is Carolyn’s birthday.  Happy Birthday, friend.  The friendship that we have is one of my greatest treasures.  You are a gift far above rubies.  Or sapphires since you like blue best.  You know how much I love Sadie’s lamp.  I will keep it safe until it is time to let it travel to another home and continue its journey and its story.

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A Bit and a Piece of God’s loving kindness, October, 2012, Searcy, Arkansas.