Brain drain... On lo mein, cracked pots, and other loves

Brain drain... On lo mein, cracked pots, and other loves

Wherein I ramble on...

Brianna is starting to show. And that's pretty darn awesome. She and Patrick find out next week if their first baby is a boy or a girl. I'm hoping for a girl... yet wonder if it's wrong to even consider hoping for one gender over another considering what they've gone through to get this far. Of course I'll be thrilled with another grandson but as this is likely my final grandchild, adding a girl to the grand group seems fitting. (Don't tell anyone, but I do think it's a girl.)

The life God intended. Conversations and situations

Read More

Wherein I review 'I've Been Thinking... Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life'

Ive_been_thinking_cover.JPG

I've long been a fan of—and subscriber to—Maria Shriver's The Sunday Paper. In her weekly e-newsletter, Shriver shares empowering, encouraging, inspirational thoughts and information on people making a positive difference in our culture, our world.

Shriver opens each newsletter with an engaging personal message  titled "I've been thinking...," on a range of topics relevant to world events and concerns. She follows up with powerful articles and tidbits by and about various "Architects of Change," as she calls the passionate "changemakers moving humanity forward." 

The Sunday Paper never fails to open my eyes and heart to the positive possibilities in our world today despite the doom, gloom, negativity, and nastiness proliferating online and off.

So when I was offered the opportunity to review I've Been Thinking... Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life, Shriver's most recent book, inspired by the messages she writes and shares in The Sunday Paper, I naturally responded, "Heck, yeah!"

Read More

A 'Disquiet Time' gem, plus GRAND Social No. 292 link party for grandparents

A 'Disquiet Time' gem, plus GRAND Social No. 292 link party for grandparents

I am a sucker for a good quote, as this post and this post attest. I recently checked out from the library Disquiet Time: Rants and Reflections on the Good Book by the Skeptical, the Faithful, and a few Scoundrels, edited by Jennifer Grant and Cathleen Falsani, and while reading Tracey Bianchi's touching (and truth-filled) essay "One Disgusting Mess," the following passage jumped right off the page and into my heart:

Read More

5 right moves I made (more often but not always) in 2017

5 right moves I made (more often but not always) in 2017

Like many people, in the waning days of 2017 and the first fresh few of 2018, I pondered the past twelve months in consideration of what I could do to improve the next twelve.

And, like most people, the negative events and actions that I personally experienced or had a hand in marking upon my days stood out most. My failures, foibles, moments of weakness, madness, self-interest, and paralyzing procrastination. Positive considerations were quickly, nearly completely, canceled out by the negative.

Now, being a Negative Nancy isn't my overall nature, yet it is human nature to recall...

Read More

Friday briefs: On precious witnesses, my holiday ride, and what the heck is this?

Precious witnesses
My middle daughter, Megan, and her husband, Preston, were both baptized as babies. Separately, of course. Last weekend the two of them confirmed their commitment to Christ together, publicly declaring as a couple they will forever live their lives for Christ.

Brayden, Camden, and Declan were front and center to witness the event.

boys watch Mom and Dad get baptized
Anticipating Mommy and Daddy's turn.

Read More

Thoughts on my walk: Confirmation

 Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
Jeremiah 33:3

My dog Mickey and I have walked the same route most weekday mornings — barring snow, sickness, and super cold days — for the past nine-point-something years. First my collie-black lab Moses accompanied us, then my shepherd-black lab Lyla came along. Since early 2016, though, it's been just Mickey and me trekking along streets and turns and corners we've traversed countless times before.

Last week as Mickey and I walked, I was deep in thought and prayer regarding a situation one of my daughters faces. A tough spot for her and her heart as well as the hearts of her parents who simply want the best for their girl.

Mid-walk and mid-prayer I was astounded to see the following shadow on a corner. A corner I'd turned hundreds (thousands?) of times before without ever seeing the comforting image.

shadow cross 

Confirmation my...

Read More

The F-ing guide to grandparenting

how to be a grandparent

Without consistent commitment to the use of certain F-words, where might a grandparent be?

Not nearly as effective — or memorable — if you ask me.

Though many grandparents eliminate F-words from their vocabularies (at least when the G-kids are around) or ban the use of them from the kids themselves, I feel quite strongly that F-words should be accessed and emphasized. As often as possible. Especially when grandchildren are around.

Following are a few such F-words, five favorites of mine I focus on and do my best to use regularly in an effort to make a memorable impact...

Read More

Hope for hope! Plus GRAND Social No. 254 link party for grandparents

Hope for hope!!

I'm a fan of TED Talks, the easy-to-access messages of motivation and inspiration. This past week, a special TED Talk made waves across social media. It was a talk by Pope Francis for TED2017, recorded in Vatican City.

Although I'm not Catholic (I'm Lutheran) and I don't really follow much on the Pope, from what I've seen and heard, I do think he's a good man. And I do believe this particular message — on hope, personal responsibility, tenderness and more — would benefit each and every one of us now and for generations going forward if we took his message to heart, if we put the sentiments into action.

If you haven't seen Pope Francis' powerful TED Talk, here it is:

 

A few of my fave quotes...

Read More

My dad's obituary and the difference between big newspapers and small

My dad passed away Sunday evening. I got the call from my sister Debbie 20 seconds before the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos in Sunday's overtime game. I missed the field goal that put the win in the Chiefs' column.

Priorities.

daughter and dying father
My last photo with Dad, October 27, 2016

My dad was unexpectedly diagnosed with a relatively obscure cancer — myelodysplastic syndrome — the very same week last January that my dog Lyla was diagnosed with her brain tumor. Lyla passed a month later. It took my dad 10 months longer.

Witnessing Dad's steady decline from a hearty, humor-loving 76-year-old to a shrinking (yet still humor-loving) 77-year-old sucked for family. Even more sucky for him, as he was fully cognizant, fully aware of his wasting away, especially as the wasting accelerated to runaway train speed near the end.

I'm filled with sorrow at Dad's death. But that's unexpectedly balanced by my joy he's out of pain and distress. I have no doubt he's in heaven. I'm especially thankful he had no doubt that's where he'd end up, once again loving on his beloved...

Read More

7 solaces in my sucky, stress-filled season

hope versus despair

My husband was laid off at the end of September. Again. It's been less than a year since we were in the same boat. Once again, we're worrying about paying for PLUS loans, prescriptions, and more. All because "the company chose to go in a different direction with the department."

Such circumstances stink. Even more so when additional stinky stuff was packed into the months between Jim's layoff last year and this year's job loss.

What stuff? you may wonder. Well, soon after my husband found a new job last fall — yeah, the job he just lost — one of my dogs was diagnosed with...

Read More

Text to Gramma: Jak and the Lord

I used to visit my three grandsons in the desert far more often than I have recently. Preston, the boys' dad, used to regularly attend work-related conferences, and Megan usually joined him. Which meant Gramma (that would be me) was flown to the desert to babysit the boys while Mom and Dad were away.

Add in a desert visit initiated by myself — sometimes with PawDad (that would be Jim) in tow — and the time between hugs and face-to-face fun were rather short. Which was fabulous for being aware and awed but not shocked by the growth of Bubby and Mac between visits.

That's not the case with Jak, who is now nearly 2 1/2 years old. Preston attends fewer conferences of late for various reasons; I haven't had the time or money to schedule many trips to see the boys myself. So I don't see Jak as often as I did his brothers during the toddler years.

Because of the limited in-person connecting with Jak, I'm regularly flabbergasted by how much he grows between Facetimes and photos and phone calls. He never fails to advance by leaps and bounds physically, socially, verbally, developmentally in myriad and magical ways.

A text from Megan on Monday demonstrated...

Read More