Thursday, January 12, 2017

Mom Turned 90: What a Journey!

My mom tells the story of how she traveled on a bus from southern Ohio to Washington state. "People looked out for each other then." Each driver would make sure she rode the correct bus to get where she was going. With courage and a few dollars she made the trip to see Dad, a soldier in World War 2. They were young, married parents living in a world of uncertainty.

This past weekend, that sweet young girl turned ninety-years old. Family gathered around her, sang to her, and ate cake. We celebrated the life of a woman who has seen some crazy changes in her life. By the end of the month she'll have witnessed sixteen different men sworn in as President. I'll never forget coming home from school the day John Kennedy died and mom trying to explain that to me, a first grader.

The year mom was born, Charles Lindberg made the first transatlantic flight. Many years later, she gathered with us in front of the television to watch a man land on the moon. Speaking of TV, Mom saw it change from black and white one or two stations to 100s of cable channels with a remote control.

Then there is the telephone.  Remember the party line? You had to wait for the neighbor to hang up before you could make a call. Now Mom uses a wireless phone, but even bettershe uses her iPad to keep in touch with all of us on Facebook. She wanted to keep up with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And she has a slew of them.

Mom is one of the smartest ladies I know. She reads everything. I attribute my great love of books to my mom. And yes, she's seen that change too. Hello, Kindle!

So over the course of ninety years, my mom has lived through square-shouldered jackets, Peter Pan colors, pill-box hats, bell bottoms, polyester, and spandex. I mention fashion trends because Mom was a seamstress for our family. And she's an artist who paints beauty on canvas. Did I mention she was a business woman, dealing in antiques? 

I can't imagine all that my mom has experienced in her ninety years, but speaking for my family, we're glad to be a part of the journey.  

Monday, January 9, 2017

Zack's Boot

Even though I was born in the middle of summer, I'm a winter child. For as long as I can remember I've loved the cold snowy days that grace southwest Ohio after Christmas.

Those days of wondering, will a snow day be called? Will we get snowed in, or will a the snow dust across the fields like powdered sugar. 

One snow day lives in my memory like it was yesterday. Our family lived in an old, cold farmhouse with a perfect sledding hill in the pasture. Because we lived on a main highway, my girls' friends made it to our house, even though they couldn't get to school. The kids who lived next door walked over. And they had a blast riding sleds down the hill. 

I was in the kitchen making hot chocolate, because that's what we always did, when one of the sledders (can't remember which one) said Zack's boot got stuck in the snow. 

Zack was the youngest of the bunch and quite distressed, probably because his foot was freezing. Like any caring adult would do, I geared up in my warmest coat and gloves and hiked over the hill to see what was going on. 

And there it was, a hole in the snow that had sucked this poor kids boot right off his foot. By the way, he waited in the house for me so his foot could thaw. After I checked out the situation, I thought "No problem, I'll just reach in and pull it out."

I sat on my knees and reached in the hole, filled with ice and snow and located the boot. I grabbed a hold of the edge and tugged. That hole pulled back. It sucked the boot down further. What was going on?

The more I jerked, the deeper it went, as my hands turned to popsicles. I pulled off my gloves and rubbed my hands  together to regain some warmth. Then plunged in again, barehanded and won the tug of war. Finally, his boot was free.

We carried the victorious prize to the house and dried it out best we could. Zack was one happy little guy. He sipped his hot chocolate with a smile.

I miss those days sometimes. The house full of everybody's kids. And I'm thankful we were the home they felt comfortable in. Some of the kids still keep in touch. They've friended me on Facebook so I get to see their adult lives, their children growing up, their professions and ambitions.

The snow brought fun times and great memories. I still love the snow.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Faithfulness: A Lesson from the Dog

2 Thessalonians 3:3
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

Several years ago, when Tater was still an exuberant young dog, he caused me to take a trip to the emergency room. I had hooked him up to take him for a walk and before I could follow him out the door, he bolted and ran me straight into the door jam. I met the jam head on, stumbled out the doorway and passed out in the back yard. In a few minutes I came to. My glasses were flung behind me, pain screamed from my broken nose, and my dear dog stood over me wondering what had just happened. Long story short—Tim took me to the emergency room for a few stitches. A few years later, I tripped over this same dog and injured both knees. Eventually leading to knee surgery and replacement. By now you may be wondering why I still love this dog. One simple reason, he's faithful. He loves me more than I understand, and I love him right back. He's a nervous Nelly sometimes and drives me crazy when he jumps and barks when I get home. But he's my dog.

That must be how God looks at me. "She's my child." Otherwise why would he be faithful to me, a messy life-liver who gets sick, makes mistakes, gets scared, acts anxious, and sometimes wants to give up. That's the thing about God, he loves me anyway. He remains faithful and protects me from evil because I sure can't protect myself. He gives me strength when I'm about to let loose of the proverbial knot at the end of the rope. I'm thankful that no matter what happens, God remains faithful. He's the same no matter what. And I know without doubt that I will remain faithful to him. 
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Fiction Book Review: For the Record by Regina Jennings

Fiction Book Review: For the Record by Regina Jennings
Book Description:
Betsy Huckabee has big-city dreams, but nobody outside of tiny Pine Gap, Missouri, seems interested in the articles she writes for her uncle's newspaper. Her hopes for independence may be crushed, until the best idea she's ever had comes riding into town.

Deputy Joel Puckett didn't want to leave Texas, but unfair circumstances have made moving to Pine Gap his only shot at keeping a badge. Worse, this small town has big problems, and masked marauders have become too comfortable taking justice into their own hands. He needs to make clear that he's the law in this town--and that job is made more difficult with a nosy reporter who seems to follow him everywhere he goes.

The hero Betsy creates to be the star in a serial for the ladies' pages is based on the dashing deputy, but he's definitely fictional. And since the pieces run only in newspapers far away, no one will ever know. But the more time she spends with Deputy Puckett, the more she appreciates the real hero--and the more she realizes what her ambition could cost him.

My Review:
I love Betsy Huckabee. She's spunky, intelligent and out to get her story. And Joel Puckett is handsome, brave, and out to get the bad guy. The two of them make for a great story full of fun, adventure, and maybe some love. If you enjoy stories set on the frontier, think Hallmark's Then Calls the Heart, you'll enjoy For the Record. Picture a town full of interesting characters living out life together, even when they don't agree. I received this book free from Bethany House.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Children's Book Review: God Made You Nose to Toes by Leslie Parrot, Illustrated by Estelle Corke

Book Description:
Help little ones understand that God created each part of their bodies so they can enjoy life and everything in it. In this delightful padded cover board book by well-known author and family therapist Leslie Parrott, children can follow along with Toucan––with a great big nose––as he helps them learn God loves each one of them completely.

My Review:
God Made You Nose to Toes is a delightful book created to teach children how God made them. I like this book because the author makes it fun as she highlights the parts of the body children learn about at a young age. I think kids will like the toucan who shows up on each page and the humor sprinkled throughout the book. The illustrations are fun and colorful, too. This is a great tool to teach children how much God loves them.

Children's Book Review: I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug! by Caroline B. Cooney, Illustrated by Tim Warnes

Book Description:
I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug!, written by bestselling author Caroline B. Cooney, is a playful and comforting bedtime book that imagines all the wonderful ways a child might give and receive a hug.

Whether it’s a big bear, gasp for air, knock over a chair hug or a wet and drippy, slimy, slippy fish hug, children will giggle their way through all the imaginative examples. Cooney’s sweet and simple rhymes encourage playful interaction between parent and child and ultimately help them wind down before they snuggle into bed and drift off to sleep.

My Review:
I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug! is a sweet book that children will love. My two year old granddaughter and I read it together. She listened and giggled and smiled at the endearing ending. I've read many of Caroline B. Cooney's books for young adults and enjoyed them. She's done a fantastic job on her first picture book. This is a perfect bedtime book to read with little ones.