Friday, January 27, 2012

January Road Trip & Plans for February

We took a Saturday road trip with special friends to a family member's home-away-from-home in Mt Mariah, Arkansas.  The temperature really dropped while we were there so we enjoyed a roaring fire in the Arkansas Stone fireplace.
We took a long walk around the private property which is bordered by the Little Missouri River
I climbed the hill overlooking the log cabin.  A beautiful view.
Beautiful mist-covered mountain range in central Arkansas
Because I don't seem to be accomplishing a whole lot in my retirement, I've decided to adapt an idea from one of my favorite blogs, "Inspired Design" and create a list of things to do to make the upcoming month of February a fun and hopefully productive one. "Fun and production don't just fall into our laps, we have to create it."  So, here is what I've come up with:


Start a new Bible Study.

Take a photograph a day. It will be fun to look back at the end of the month.

Have lunch and see a matinee movie with couple friends at least once during the month.

Possibly join the FBC Handbell Choir.

Write a handwritten letter telling someone how special they are to me and why.

Touch base with a long-distance friend.

Take a mini road trip, favorite friends required.

Scan and save copies of parent's love letters for posterity.

Enjoy a weekend with Sisters.

Clean out closets and compile Goodwill stash.

Find a new hairstylist.

Make one new recipe a week. 

Visit College Station friends.

Watch Ava Grace play soccer.

What's on your list?

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."   Proverbs 3:5-6

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Jackets, Shoes and Little Girls

I need to start this post by letting you in on a personal situation regarding my relationship with my husband.  Several years ago I had to put hubby on jacket detention.  It was either this or something much more drastic such as a family intervention was going to be necessary.  The kids really were reluctant to get this involved so I took action into my own hands and just did it.  It was hard on all of us for a while, but hubby was strong and resisted.  I've been so proud of him, especially in January when he walks through Dillards and sees all the nice jackets on sale.

That brings us to a situation that I am ashamed to even to bring up, but feel that I must as part of my healing process.  Hubby has put me on shoe detention.  Actually, he advised that I had to get rid of a pair for every new pair I bought.  Now ladies, I know I don't have to tell you how utterly unfair and unjust this mandate is.  I don't have any shoes that I don't want!

I tried to explain to him that my love for and need for many shoes goes back much further and is so much more inbred than his like of jackets.  I shared with him that my mother loved shoes long before I was born.  I explained that she painfully taught her daughters how to shop for shoes.  She proudly told us that if we could only afford one pair of shoes, they should be quality.  (The fact that we could only afford two pairs a year and so they had to last probably had something to do with this philosophy.)  I chose not to mention this fact.

My plea grew in intensity by sharing that my favorite aunt was the most stylish person I knew and that she also loved beautiful shoes and taught me to buy "good" and stylish shoes.  She had a huge walk-in closet and allowed if not encouraged my spending time there trying on and modeling her wonderful shoes.

By this time, I was shedding a few tears and attempting to control the whimper in my voice.  Too much can completely undo a persuasive presentation.

I continued.  I shared with hubby, whom I might add appeared to be losing interest by this time, that when I was a little girl and had to go with my mom to her lady's church meetings, that I entertained myself by studying the shoes of the ladies in attendance.  Afterward, I could identify every woman present by the shoes she was wearing.  I must also confide to you that I was very judgmental about many of those ladies solely based on the style and condition of her shoes.  I thought to have shared this with hubby, might not have been in my best interest at the time.

Well, at this point, hubby seemed to have forgotten the whole point of the conversation, so I decided to steer the conversation in a different direction by recalling how much I missed my mom and how much I appreciated all the time she had spent with me and what a great mom she was to us girls, and on and on.

Let's just say that now when hubby sees me wear a pair of shoes he thinks he hasn't seen before, I sweetly remind him that it's part of my heritage.  By the way, I am beginning to suggest that he might want to think about updating his coat selection.

All this thought about shoes has made me think about what our shoes say about us.  My elegant aunt's selection told me I wanted to be just like her.  My mother's were much more practical but lovely non the less until her later years when she was relegated to less attractive shoes in order to accommodate a brace insert.  It broke her heart and ours as well.

My walking shoes show that I am an avid walker and have not taken the time to replace them.
 These are my favorite personality shoes.  I don't wear them often but they do come out when I need that certain punch - either dressy or casual.
These break all my mother's rules.  They are the cheapest shoes I've ever bought but I love them.  They just make my feet happy and that can't help but be reflected on my face.
Remember, my last blog about the Princess Blitz?  Samantha's dad took pictures of the little girl's shoes.  I think they tell their own story.  I'll let you decide.

 So, what do your shoes say about you?

Regardless of the shoes we wear, the Bible does tell us how we are to walk:
"Walk by faith, not by sight; walk by the spirit; walk in a manner worthy; walk with love; walk as children of light; WALK WITH HIM!

As we carefully select the shoes we wear to enhance an outfit, may we more carefully select with Whom we will walk!  Walk as the true Princess you are!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Princess Blitz

While in Indiana this December, I had the opportunity to meet the most remarkable young lady. Samantha Petersen, Sammie to her friends, is a Junior at Penn H. S. in Mishawaka, IN and active in the youth ministry at Granger Community Church.  She has a beautiful singing voice and radiant smile, and as wonderful as these are, her spirit and her heart for the Lord are the most captivating.

Let me share a bit about Samantha with you.  Samantha had a vision.  This beautiful and talented teenager wanted to make young girls in her community know that they matter and are beautiful just the way they are.  What better way to accomplish this than to help them see themselves as the "Princesses" they truly are.

Therefore the birth of  Princess Blitz.

Samantha describes the first event like this:
The event was done at one of our elementary schools in town. This school was picked because of the income levels of the students who attend.  I want all little girls to know what it feels like to be treasured and important.
Samantha had no trouble getting about 15 of hers and her mom's friends to volunteer for this event and of course she could not have pulled this off without a lot of support from the guidance counselor at the school.

About a week or two before the event, at an introductory meeting, handmade invitations were personally delivered to all second grade girls at the school.
The day of the  Princess Blitz, she had all the volunteers wear dresses so that they would be girly too.  She wanted to make the whole event have a little more “prettiness” if you will, than the average day. Samantha explains her goal as being, "to make a little fairy tale afternoon for some girls who may not get to have that very much."
On the day of the event, right after the school day ended, the excited little girls met with Samantha and her volunteers.

The first thing on the agenda was the reading of a story Samantha had written entitled, "The Tale of Two Princesses."  After reading this delightful story I can only imagine the eager little faces of those precious children as they listened.  Samantha explained to me the purpose of the story was "to help focus the girls into “Princess Mode” instead of “School Mode.” Samantha said the story set the stage for the rest of the afternoon.

The three main points of the story were emphasized by the use of gemstones.  This was a theme carried throughout the various stations.

The Purple Jewel:  A princess makes mistakes, but she always gets right back up and tries again.

The Mirror (Diamond) Jewel:  A princess knows that her beauty is on the inside as well as the outside.

The Green Jewel:  A princess helps others.

One station was the crown station. Crown stencils and craft materials were in abundance so they could decorate as much as they wanted to.  After all, every princess needs her own personalized crown!

While some girls made crowns others were able to visit the dress station, where they got to pick from a large selection of "dress-up" clothes the one they would wear for the rest of the afternoon.  Others colored pictures of princesses.
Another station was the Hair/Makeup. Oh what fun this was.  Here Samantha's mom, Leslie (a phenomenal hairstylist and great lady) and Brenda White (one of the nicest and most energetic people I know) add the finishing touches to these little princesses.

What does every little girl do when feels beautiful?  She laughs and twirls and dances!

Samantha adds this comment: 
"Throughout the evening, we built the girls up by calling them beautiful, telling them how pretty they looked, making them feel like they own the world.  At the end was my personal favorite part; watching the girls get their pictures taken. Since my dad is a professional photographer, he came in with all of his lighting equipment and camera gear to capture the girls in the dress of their choice with their hand made crowns. It was priceless to see their faces."
When I heard about Samantha's vision and wonderful program, I was so impressed and knew if anything demonstrated "Beauty Without & Within" it was her story and her goal for each little girl - not to be a Queen for a day, but a Princess for a lifetime.

Thank you Samantha for this ministry and for making these little girls know how beautiful and special they really are.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

How to Bury a Child

"A parent is not supposed to bury a child."

I'm sure you have heard this many times as I have.  This statement is so very personal and true for those of you who have lost a child.  I have often wondered how a parent does bury a child.  How does a parent deal with one of the most painful of all losses?

Bob and Amy Hazelwood of Granger, IN have had to not only answer that question, but live their answer.  Their Angie was born in Hawaii in 1974 and celebrated her first Christmas there.
A few years later they moved back to their home in Northern Indiana where Angie grew up as a vivacious, out-going young lady.  Her parents were always very involved with all her activities, such as making this pinata for her class Christmas party.

Angie grew up and followed her mother into the dental field by becoming a Dentist.  I did not know Angie personally, but have heard so much about her and know from others that she was such a loving and giving person.  Let one of her friends share a memory with you:
She was in the midst of dental school and all of a sudden she just shows up on my door steps with these amazing stuffed shells. I asked her what she was doing at my house and that she didn't have to bring anything over and in true Angie fashion she answered "Isn't that what friends do when their friends have a baby -- they bring over dinner?" As if she had any time to be making me dinner and bringing over a baby gift and gifts for the boys.....but that was so Angie -- always making time to be a good friend.
How a person consistently treats their friends says so much about them.  This is another friend's memory: 
When my dad died last year, everyone was very nice, and generously took food to my grandma's house. But what meant so much to me when Angie showed up at my house with pizzas and drinks for our small little group. I just will never forget her friendship and how much that thoughtful act meant to me.

Doesn't she sound like a person you would love to have known? Better yet, she is a person I would like to emulate.

Because so many people knew and loved Angie, Bob and Amy were the recipients of a sharing love this Christmas.  Being next door to them, we woke to find their yard decorated and wondered what it all meant.  I'll let Amy tell you about it.

We already knew we were blessed with many amazing people....and no one will admit who did this, but we were surprised by a huge box of presents with an angel statue on our front porch this morning. Decorations were hung all over the front yard and porch. It had to be from those who knew Bob likes chocolate and movies, and knew Angie's special colors. Gifts of warmth & kindness and messages of Peace & Believe were on some very special items. How did you know that the special little lime green tree I have in Angie's memory would go so well with everything? I was not quite sure what Christmas Commandos were, so I looked it up on the web site: 
"The Commandos is an foundation that brings the spirit of Christmas to those who need it most, especially during the holiday season. On Christmas Eve, the commandos visit homes where there is great sadness due to a tragic death of a child or parent with children at home. The commandos leave gifts of love in hopes to bring joy to the remaining family members. Decorations of garland, ornaments, and candy canes are hung around the yard and an angel statue is left in memory of the lost love. Since 1999, the commandos have brought Christmas to over 350 homes and joy to over 1,500 family members."

All I can say is thank you for helping ease us through this challenging day.


So, how does a parent deal with the death of a child?  I have no idea what I would do.  I want to believe I would handle it in the Lord's strength with faith and courage.  I read recently of a mother who has told the story of her daughter through paintings.  Let me share with you how Amy is dealing with her loss.

She is sharing her thoughts and memories of her precious daughter and friend with those who also knew and loved Angie.  Because of Amy's sharing Angie, I have gotten to know her myself.  Because Amy loves to talk about her daughter and to hear what others remember of her, she not only is healing her own great grief, but is helping others who are also experiencing loss to heal.  Amy will still tear up and cry as she shares something especially meaningful to her, but those tears fall over a beautiful, tender, loving smile.

Let me share with you one of Amy's treasured memories: 
Last summer, (2010) I had a dental assignment in New York City and invited Angie to go with me since she had not been there. The week before, the ad agency called to say that things were being rescheduled for the following week.
 We could have cancelled the trip, but decided to go anyway. I had made my plans just did not want to miss the opportunity to hang with Angie in NYC.
Looking back, Angie's lymphoma was there, but we did not know it yet. The decision to go turned out to be so good...created some super memories.
As a result of this trip, Amy shares this timeless advice:  "Don't pass on opportunities with loved ones." 

Angie lost her fight against cancer in October of this year.  She is no longer here, but because of the impact this beautiful lady had on the lives of those with whom she came in contact, and her mother's sharing this life with others, her memory is.
I think this is how you bury a child.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Favorite Holiday Memories

These are just a few of my favorite Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years memories caught in pictures.

Thanksgiving with the "Cutest Punkin' in the Patch"

Hubby with daughter and granddaughters

Getting to see our grandson play for the Indiana State 5-A Football Title at Lucus Oil Stadium

Granddaughter's DARE graduation

Attending a Christmas Tea Party given for granddaughters and their friends

Picking the perfect Christmas tree with the family

Watching granddaughter play Soccer

Christmas Eve with the fun Day Family

The sharing of gifts

Grandson's Christmas present

Son and Daughter-in-Love

Daughter and Hubby

Movie date with granddaughter and Elizabeth

The animated telling of the Nativity story by granddaughter

These are just a few of my favorite moments of the holidays spent with our family.  I would love to hear about some of your favorite memories.