Tuesday, February 24, 2015

grandmas and their braids

I mentioned in a previous post that kids love to have a look at my braid when they visit my house (I cut off my long hair when I was in my mid-30s). But it's nothing as dramatic as looking at my grandmother's braid.

My grandmother was a dignified, hard working woman and this photo is how I remember her. You can't see that she's wearing sturdy "old lady" black shoes, stockings, and a dress. Always. She's probably in her early 50s in this photo.

When we visited my grandparents for a week each summer, we usually got a big treat. Just once each time we could get up early in the morning and come downstairs to their bedroom to watch Grandmother brush her long hair (down to her waist) and put it into one or two braids.

It was such a strange vision of our dignified grandma. She was transported into a young girl in our minds--long braids, glasses off,  and wearing a long, flannel night gown.

Then we would watch her pin it up, twisting two braids around her head, or one braid into the bun you see in this photo.

When she reached her 70s she cut her hair and would go regularly for a wash and set with a "blue rinse." LOL. She was a widow by then. I admire her tenacity in learning to drive in her 60s after my grandfather died. Her sons taught her.

But I digress. As to the viewing of braids, I'd choose a braid connected 
any day over one cut off and lying in an old chest.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

voices from the past

A dear old friend died recently.  We haven't seen each other in years; she and her husband were sort of mentors to us when we lived in Africa with our young family. I was surprised to learn she was 90;  it's hard to take in how the years slip by and friends grow older, especially if we don't see each other in person.

Jean was always so gracious, good at hospitality, caring, and writing letters. We kept up through the years.

"Back in the day" we would use cassette tapes as letters, especially when we lived in Africa. It was a forerunner of Skype (that may be a stretch, LOL). 

In my ongoing work of sorting through old things and cleaning out, I've come across a box of cassette tapes. And yes, we still have a cassette player.

Some of us struggle more than others with the sentiment involved in keeping or tossing. 
I was glad that I had kept these up to this point, and as I listened 
to some of them I loved hearing the voices of our little boys.

Then I came across a "letter tape" from Jean, sent from Africa, telling little details of life there 
now 30 years ago. Listening to it reminded me of people and places I hadn't thought 
of in a long while, but more importantly, her voice was as clear as if 
she was standing next to me. So good to hear.
I sent the little cassette to her husband, wondering if it was the right thing to do, 
not knowing how he was dealing with the loss of his wife of 65 years.
I got a note back from him this week. How he loved the tape. 
And, it is the only recording he has of his beloved's lovely voice.  
I was so glad, at that moment, that I am a keeper of sorts.  
What a gift I had given to him, that could have long ago been tossed in a trash bin. 

The dilemma remains. What to keep, what to toss.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Heart Party Part II

Part 2
For this tea party we used adult-size teacups and saucers. 
Some of my most favorites, along with the teapot Little One's daddy
gave me for Mother's Day quite a few years ago.
And the tea this time was pretty hot and we learned how to sip every so slightly
to check how hot it is. They all did well.
Of course one of the most fun things about a tea party is the
act of placing sugar into the cup and stirring it. 
At one tea party I had, the sugar bowl was completely emptied.
This time the bowl was not emptied, but the sugar was all wet and soggy.
Just stop and smile at that visual.
After they were finished we had a quick trip to my bedroom to open
my grandmother's cedar "hope" chest and have a look at my braid.
It seems to be something they always want to do, 
if they've seen it before or heard about it..
Then for the wrap up of the party we read a story.
take note. This one, Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch, surprisingly
was on the shelf at our library. What I didn't realize was how
perfect it was for Valentine's Day. (I believe God
delights to put things like that together for us.)
So we ended with a wonderful story with a good lesson
about love and friendship. Then off they went to
run outside a bit in the wind and dropping temperatures.
I googled the name of this book and found it online being read by
a familiar actor. You might want to listen to it yourself! 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Heart Party Part 1

Part 1
I love valentines, tea parties, and sharing it all with little girls. I look back at some of the tea parties 
I've had with little girls, now all grown up--some with their own children, 
some off to college…. Now it's time for some new little girls. 
I picked up Little One and her friend after school the other day and we came to my house 
for a tea party. Two other little girls joined us. Two were 6 3/4, one was 5 2/3, and one was 3 1/2. 
Or so they said (you know age can get a little competitive, at least at that age.)
Our conversation hit all kinds of topics, from where in the world is
Hong Kong, to how tall South African penguins are, to the meaning of arrogant.
Hearts of cheese were extremely popular. I think they were hungry.
The cookies were just OK. I feel like I've lost my touch in
decorating cookies, but these girls didn't mind. Their core values for cookies:
icing, it's thickness, and the embellishments.
They were such sweet little ladies. I noticed at the start they were all
sitting with hands folded on their laps, just smiling.
We read from God's Valentine Chapter and substituted "Jesus"
whenever there was the word "love" as our pastor did last Sunday.
"Jesus is patient and kind; Jesus does not envy or boast; He is not arrogant or rude. 
Jesus does not insist on his own way, He is not irritable or resentful . . . Jesus
rejoices with the Truth. Jesus bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
Stay tuned for Part 2.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Great Table Exchange

From Point A to Point B to Point C to Point D.
That's how it went down one Saturday.

A new table comes from the store to Youngest Son's house.
(A to B).

Their old table comes to our house (that's B to C).

Our old table goes to young friends' house (C to D).

I loved our old table. And old it was, a pub table with leaves that 
pulled out from underneath each end. 
We loved both eating at it and using it as a work table.
But we've never had enough sturdy chairs and it was time.
Our "new-to-us" dining room table has good sturdy chairs. 
It can be extended to seat 12.
And even though the table's about the same size as the other,
it strangely makes the room look bigger.
With a piano in the dining room you'd think we'd have some dinner music.
But the pianist is usually busy serving the meal.
I enjoy seeing my great-great grandmother's white bowl on a lace tablecloth.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

now for something totally different

 Life has been a little quiet … it's winter, we've been busy 
and I've been sick. No snow for excitement, no tulips here yet,
just cold temps and life, but wonderful life.
So I looked back to our stop in Germany last summer.
Just some random favorite scenes that caught my eye.
I found it interesting that young people (I was told) enjoy wearing the
traditional dress for everyday and dress-up wear,
just updated a wee bit (see first mosaic.)

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

the rest of the day

 Rest. What is it?  I'm an activist and enjoy work and a busy life. 
But I also long for quiet and rest.
I'm an enigma.
 So when I got sick yet again with a throat so sore I thought it 
must be strep, I went right to the doctor.
 We were to keep the grandchildren this week while their
parents are away. So I needed to know what we were dealing with.
Diagnosis? A virus. Treatment: True rest, fluids,
and no grandkids (too contagious). Big disappointment.
 I admit I don't know much about rest.
But I tried. Only two small loads of wash and then I rested on
the couch most of the day, sipping water or tea,
drifting off into a nap. The Gardener heated leftovers for dinner
and cleaned up the kitchen. I think it actually helped.
I feel better today and plan to rest another day.
Maybe I'm learning something.
"Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never 
come in busyness. They grow in rest." 
    ~Mark Buchanan, The Holy Wild: Trusting in the Character of God.

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