28 March 2012

A Lenten Poem by my late mother-in-law...

Almost twenty years ago, after my father-in-law passed away, my mother-in-law, Alma, who was suffering with Alzheimers, had to leave their little farm and live with a son. Some of the family came in and began to clean out their belongings. My sons were probably 8 and 10 at the time, and while playing around in the back pasture came across the pile of things that had been thrown. Among them was a little book that Alma had written in beginning in approximately 1938. It only holds a few entries, but this poem was among them. Alma played the organ at the little Lutheran church in Glyndon, MN from the age of 11 until in her 70's. I'm glad this was salvaged. (We had no part in the "clean up" because we lived far away. How anyone could throw this out I'll never understand.)

Another treasure thrown on the trash heap was this jar of buttons. The way I heard the story, my son Jordan found the jar on the same heap of belongings mentioned above and picked it up crying, "Grandma's button jar!" We had lived with my in-laws for several months and the boys had seen this jar sitting on a cupboard shelf where it had held Alma's buttons for many years. Once again, how could you throw this away? It now holds a place of honor on my bookshelves next to her little diary. The lid is stuck on, so it's sort of like a time capsule. If you shake it around a little you find a cameo, a crochet hook and other special items surface as the buttons move around. Very special to us!

I'm off to work. I hope you have a great day!

Audrey masters the straw cuppie!

A girl gets thirsty waiting for Grandpa to make breakfast!

26 March 2012

Simple Pleasures...

Ah, yes. I spent the day yesterday helping to babysit little Audrey while Micah was at work and Adam, who works the night shift, was sleeping. Bob was here, too, but he had to get hay and do chores, so I did some changing, feeding and entertaining the little one. In the evening Bob, Micah and Audrey went to church in Ottertail. I don't usually go to that evening service if I work the next day because they always get home about 11 p.m. Instead, I stayed home and did a lot of reading, painting and visiting other people's art blogs. My favorite kind of evening!

I'm off to work in half and hour. In my lunch bucket is a homemade bean burrito, a cup of chicken chowder soup and a sweet roll. (Adam brought home a dozen this morning!) In the zipper compartment of my lunch pail is my battered copy of Jane Eyre for lunchtime reading.

These are the good and simple pleasures that make life a little more fun. Here's a picture of my WIP (work in progress). It looks pretty chaotic right now, but I'm confident I can make it look like something with more layers and details. They never look good at this point! Here's a link to the Modigliani painting I'm trying to copy.

Have a great day!

19 March 2012

Little Pilgrim...I love to listen to this every so often...

I always get tears in my eyes at the end. Somehow those two little souls standing on the summit of that mountain touch my heart. There's an analogy there somewhere...

And this is another wonderful song from the '70's...

May your peace come from the Prince of Peace.

A day of forced rest...

I had just placed Audrey in the safety of her pack-n-play when my back decided to spasm. No warning; out of the blue. So, it's a good thing I had today and tomorrow off. Bob is spoiling me with glasses of iced tea and food and I'm being totally self-indulgent, reading and drawing/painting as the spirit moves me!

I have produced a piece of art... It's not quite finished, and it is for an art challenge where we are supposed to make a painting of a doll. I have a few other challenges to create things for and a list of other artistic ideas. So it should be a great day, despite the back thing.

Have a great day! It's beginning to look a lot like spring; but in Minnesota it can be deceptive...


18 March 2012

My mama...

As I read Pom Pom's ponderings this morning about giving of oneself to others, it brought to mind my own mother. She lives far away in south Texas, while I live in northern Minnesota. I haven't been able to see her much in past years, but have made two trips in the last couple of years. A few years ago I noticed that my emails to her weren't being answered and when the answer finally came it was brief. Ordinarily her emails were full of news and excitement about what my kids were up to. I sensed something was wrong, but had no idea what the problem was. I'm not much of a phone visitor. I like emails because you have time to ponder and form thoughts before "speaking". So I continued to send emails now and then. After some time my step-dad, Glenn, wrote to me and began filling me in on what was happening. Mom was going through the beginning stages of dementia. This is a woman who has been my spiritual mentor for many years. Though she has been through her own spiritual ups and downs throughout life, in her later years she had become a strong prayer warrior and was steeped in the Word. She always had wise counsel when I needed it and always encouraged me in homeschooling my children and in everything I loved to do.

When I visited mom almost two years ago, she repeated the same questions frequently, but still seemed to know me. She still seemed like the mom I knew. Last May when my husband and I went back for a visit she was still a very cheerful and friendly person, but I think she saw us just as some nice visitors. It's a sad thing to see someone you love slipping away like this. She has given so much to me and others around her. She loved to write, and for a while put out a newsletter full of inspirational material. She also loved to paint and took watercolor classes at a local college for awhile.

Dementia is becoming such a common thing these days. I think this is because we are living so much longer. But the thing I want to keep in mind is that my mom is still there. I mean her "real self". Her eternal spirit. And she would want me and all those that love her to know that she still loves us. If this ever happens to me, I want my children to know that this condition is only temporary. When we arrive in Heaven we will once again know and love each other with a more perfect love than we can imagine here. God still has us safely in the palm of His hand no matter what satan may throw at us. And I do believe that dementia, as well as all sickness, comes from the enemy of God. (I have to believe that if Jesus healed EVERYONE who came to Him, then He isn't in the business of giving sickness.Sometimes our faith just isn't strong enough to receive that healing. And sometimes others need to pray for us when we're weak.) NOTHING can separate us from God's love if we belong to Him. We win in the end, praise God!

So, I will remember my mama as she was and pray for her protection each day. My step-dad is a hero, as far as I'm concerned, and is taking great care of her. He turns 82, I believe, next month! I trust him completely to make the difficult decisions ahead, and I hope he will also take care of himself and not try to do the impossible. Are you listening, Glenn? :)

I have some shelves in my bathroom which I've filled with things that I like to look at. The second shelf from the top contains things that my mom has made or sent to me over the years. It helps me to remember who she really is, and who she will be again...only better.
Some little decoupaged boxes.

A watercolor painting of a potato vine that grew in her yard.

Other cute knick-knacks she made.
(The little Korean plaque on the bottom shelf is a gift from my sons. It spells out love in Korean and they bought it on a trip to South Korea they took a couple of years ago.)

Just wanting to talk about my mom. I really feel that God doesn't put us into families just by chance. He doesn't give us these people to love only to separate us forever in Heaven. I think we will know and love each other there, and we can take comfort in that. My mom shared a scripture with me a few years back, and I think she shared it for such a time as this. Though she's still alive physically, I think a certain part of her has gone on ahead of her body and is safely with God. The scripture is this:

"The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart;
devout men are taken away,
and no one understands
that the righteous are taken away
to be spared from evil.
Those who walk uprightly
enter into peace;
they find rest as they lie in death." (Isaiah 57:1-2 NIV)

I find this very reassuring. Thanks, Mama!

10 March 2012

Unearthed treasures!

I don't remember where I picked up these copies of This England magazine, but it was MANY years ago. I didn't remember that I still had them until I started digging through some stored boxes! They are FULL of beautiful pictures of England and interesting stories. I may find some good pictures for painting/drawing. But mostly they'll just be fun to look at.

I also found the first four issues of Practical Homeschooling, plus some later issues. These are collectors items! (Well, not really, but they're pretty old.) I loved these issues mostly for the cover art. After about issue #4 they started putting photos on the cover and it lost a lot of its charm.

Anyway, a fun find. It's a day off so maybe I'll get in some drawing and reading along with playing with Audrey. Bob's off helping with a taekwondo tournament, so it will be quiet around here.

So many ideas for artwork. I'm asking the Lord to guide me into a direction where my art can be used for His glory. Right now I'm in the practicing phase, but I don't want to just use it for a hobby.

Over on Jody's blog she shared this isometric exercise video. This 94 year old lady is so inspiring! I loved the way the little girl (her great-granddaughter perhaps??) is imitating her so seriously. I can just hear her thinking, "Hey, if Grandma looks this great at 94 I'm going to DO this!" LOL! Also, check out the people in the background. Do you get the feeling they're used to this sort of thing? Interesting.

Have a great day! Go with God! :)

06 March 2012

Here we go again...

So, after dropping out of the nursing program last fall after the first day of classes, I've jumped through the hoops and passed the entrance test on December 29. Today I finally hear that I've been accepted for the program next fall. I'll be pretty old by the time I actually finish school! I turn 56 this fall and I'll be 58 by the time I graduate. Hey, what's the name for a birthday where you turn the same age as the year you were born? (I was born in 1956.)Maybe there isn't a name for it...

Anyway, I'm not sure when placing a fleece before the Lord fell out of favor, but that was the only thing I could think of to do concerning nursing school. "Lord, if this isn't completely crazy and You think it's an okay idea for me to go to nursing school, please open the door. If it IS crazy and doesn't have Your support, PLEASE don't let me get through that door, no matter what!" I want the Lord to protect me from myself! So now I have to believe He is okay with it and therefore I believe He will provide for my family as I cut back on work hours and spend many hours in study. Here we go, Lord! (Well, next Fall!)

Time to dust off the Anatomy and Physiology textbook to refresh my memory and maybe I'll also dig into the Medical Terminology book I got last fall and get a head start. Prayers appreciated!

Shalom, y'all!

05 March 2012

A snowy day off...

Glenn! If you happen by and see that I've been neglecting this blog for a few days it's probably because I'm spending my spare moments drawing and painting. I've joined up with several art challenges on my Pen and Ink blog and I find I'm spending more time over there, not only painting, but looking at other "artist's" works. So come on over and see what's up! :)

Meanwhile, here on the farm things are quiet. I mean REALLY quiet! Bob is sleeping in his big chair with Audrey sleeping in his lap, while Micah is sleeping on the couch. I'm tiptoeing around doing a little housework. The cable is out-of-order for the moment, so I finally slipped "National Velvet" into the DVD player just to make a little background sound. Now I'm sitting in the art corner of my bedroom composing this epistle. Later I would like to go over to the old log cabin and do some more cleaning and organizing. We have several inches of snow on the ground right now, but later (after the snow melts) we'll need to load more stuff up to move to storage, so I thought today might be a good day for cleaning and organizing.

To spice things up a little here are a couple of pics of the grandkiddos!
Big brother Nathan watching over little sister, Starry.
Starry at one month of age.
Sassy Nathan in his froggy slippers. What a cutey!
There he is again!
These four photos of Audrey were taken by her Uncle Jordan (my son) with his "vintage" camera. (He picked it up at Goodwill for $14 and is having lots of fun learning to take artistic shots.) I think he's captured her personality very well!

Adios for now and...