Thursday, August 30, 2007

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Just decided that after my last serious, rather sad post that I needed to give some happy news events happening in the world right now. I hope they bring a smile to your face and that you will, in turn, think about some happy news in your own life. Feel free to let me know if you are celebrating something good in your life right now.
Headline news, reason NUMBER ONE is that I got a wonderful email today from a dear young woman telling me of her recent engagement. She knows who she is...but I won't be a "spoiler" by saying her name as well as her new
fiance's name. However, I will tell you that the arranged marriage between
this woman and my son is now defunct.
Coming in at NUMBER TWO is the birth of Teddy. He's the newborn baby of our new neighbors and weighed in at a whopping 9 lbs. 14 oz.! Mother and baby are doing very well!
This may seem kind of silly, but I bought a really cool cowboy hat today at the local thrift shop for less than $20.00 and that is reason to celebrate NUMBER THREE! It's a Resistol brand and the still new tag inside gave the original price at $179.00! Now, if only I can figure out which of my many men to give it to...
NUMBER FOUR: I get to hang our with my great niece Ava and my great nephew Cal tomorrow. Talk about fun!
Finally, good thing NUMBER FIVE: We are going to Hawaii in a few months to belatedly celebrate our 30th anniversary. Flights, hotel and rental car have been booked! Aloha!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Life Lessons

On this day in 1980, I learned that life is not fair - really not fair. Wes and I were headed to the hospital; I was in labor with our first child. We so wanted to meet this child, hold this child, love this child.
But, once we arrived at the hospital things quickly became apparent that this child would not survive. She had a birth defect that was not compatible with life. I delivered our daughter and she was stillborn. Our hearts were shattered into a million pieces, and somehow we had to go on.
The next lesson I learned was hope. Hope that time would heal our raw wounds. Hope that tomorrow would be a better day. Hope that someday we would be able to deliver a healthy baby into our world.
Now I am here, 27 years later, learning that time can heal deep wounds, that there is life after despair. We have been blessed with Anne and John, and they are incredibly precious and loved by us as well as many others. Their oldest sister has always remained deep in my heart and thoughts and I thank God I could be blessed to carry her inside for nine months and learn the biggest life lesson of all: love. We miss you, dear one.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Recycled + Reclaimed = Independence Grove

In 1978, a 1,110 acre plot of land was purchased by the Lake County Forest Preserves. This property was a former gravel quarry and it was, most likely, quite an eyesore. The thought was that this property could be recycled and reclaimed - two of my favorite words and actions! In the early 1990's a master plan was created for the land, and finally in 2001 the park opened and it was called Independence Grove.
Whenever we can, and especially in the late afternoon as the blazing sun diminishes, Wes and I head north on Milwaukee Avenue about 8 minutes from our home to this lovely place. The water (remember I am a "water" girl!), the native grasses, flowers and critters plus the serenity of this park beckons us. Each time we leave, we are renewed and refreshed. Tonight was just such an experience.
Here's your namesake flower, Anne!
(The striped image in the middle is a dragonfly!)
Perhaps you have heard the little commercial ditty about visiting Weil Olds in Libertyville..."It's a beautiful place in the country." We think that Independence Grove is just that beautiful place being sung about! Drive on out, over or whatever. Just get here somehow.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Chocolate Power!

Chocolate, oh the power of chocolate. It makes one feel better when sad, when mad, when happy, when glad. I'm so thankful there is such a thing as chocolate in our world.
A poem by Duncan Wyllie sums it up pretty well:
Chocolate, the very word
Melts in the mind
Slips off the tongue, sweet
Chocolate, the very thought Brings a smile,
Delicate, dark, milk to light
Chocolate, the very notion
Heightens our devotion
Taste buds tingle for
Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!
Is your mouth watering yet?
Working Tuesday nights at the library is made so delightful with the presence of my co-workers. We are a team, to be sure. (You might want to check out an archive blog about us on Halloween last year.) With school starting up soon, we know we are in for busy nights, so we decided to have a chocolate "bar" kick-off. Each of us brought in tasty treats with that in mind. No, we don't do this very often, so it was an especially fun break.
Here we are...the Tuesday Night Girls! And, yep, chocolate is just the way to kick off the new season of being a teacher, being a student, and being a "Story Lady." Bring it on - we are fortified with CHOCOLATE POWER!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

On Grandmothers and Licking the Spoon

Anne and John are blessed to still have their Grandmothers in their lives.They have so many fond memories of each one of them. These are but a few of the things they have learned from their Grandmas:
1. Grandmas let you do stuff that Moms won't let you using no silverware.
2. Grandmas buy you candy in the store and let you eat it right then and there.
3. Grandmas let you stay up late when you have a sleepover at their house.
4. Grandmas never seem to be in a hurry.
5. Grandmas don't seem to care much when you wear mismatched fact, they find it rather amusing!
6. Grandmas love you more with each passing year.
7. Grandmas light up when you come into a room.
8. Grandmas, though facing ordeals of aging, will try show a brave face in your presence.
9. Grandmas will think of you as young no matter how old you get.
10. Grandmas could still care less about whether or not you'll get salmonella from eating cookie dough batter - they say, "Lick that spoon if you want to!"
My sister is a Grandmother, too. To Cal and Ava. One calls her "Gammy" and the other calls her "Mammy." Recently, Gammy had Ava over and suggested they make cookies together - something Ava had never done before. Diann shared the adorable pictures with me, and I, in turn, share them with you:
Finally, out of the oven and into her mouth. Yummy! Then it was time to deliver some of the cookies back to Ava's home. When her Mommy opened the door, Ava handed over the goodies saying, "Mommy happy!" How smart this little one is to know that cookies and CHOCOLATE can make a person feel oh-so-good.
This little girl sure loves her Grammy, and her Grammy sure loves her! Delicious, huh?
(Maybe one day, it'll be my turn and that would delight me to no end.
No pressure, Anne and Jed or John...I'm willing to wait until you are good and ready.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

These Boots Are Made For Splashin'

Preschool teachers see their fair share of young fashions, let me tell you! I saw expensive clothes, hand-me-down clothes, matched outfits and outfits I knew only a child could put together. I zipped hundreds of parkas, buckled oodles of snowpants overalls, slipped on innumerous boots! But, what I loved were those cute rubber boots that the kids would don on rainy days. I said to them, "I love your boots!!! I wish I had a pair! If only they would make them in my size!!"
Well, this past weekend when we were in Galena, I came upon a shop with adult sized boots shown off outside the entrance to the store. Not only shown, but on SALE. I halted my group,nearly hyperventillating...I had to try them on! Could they? Would they?
Slipping on the the boot...could it be these will fit?
Both boots on now...they're feeling like they were made for me!
My new boots are pink and they have wildly prancing ponies on them. Bring on the rain! This girls' wish finally came true!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

It's a Beautiful Day in Their Neighborhood

And where is their neighborhood? It's a hop, skip and a jump from here...well, specifically about three hours away, near Galena, Illinois! Wes and I had a wonderful weekend visiting my sister and her husband. A highlight of our trip was exploring this old, historic city and taking a trolley tour (why can't I think about trollies without thinking about the beloved Mr. Rogers?) We saw Ulysses S. Grant's home, noted all the different types of architecture, ate great food (I tried my first fried green tomatoes and they were heavenly) and even went to a one-man show performed by Mark Twain impersonator, Jim Post. Great times were had by all! **NOTE: I aplogize for any vertigo you might experience viewing the buildings in this slide show. Pics were quickly snapped while in a moving trolley.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Lovely, Happy Wedding

A wedding is special because of a lot of things: the radiant bride in her beautiful gown, the look on the face of the groom as he sees his bride walking down the aisle, the colorful flowers, the lovely bridesmaids and the dashing groomsmen, the adorable flower girls, the delicious wedding cake... Yes, we saw all of these at a recent wedding we attended. But, more importantly, we saw two people obviously in love with each other making a lifetime commitment before God and others. We saw their devotion to each other. We saw them serious. We saw them dancing and light-hearted. And, you know that feeling you get at a wedding when it is going to be a lasting, happy marriage? We saw that, too...
The wedding guests and participants certainly felt surrounded by the love of these two as they listened to the eloquent reading of scripture by Cassius' Aunt Augusta of the 1 Corintians 13 passage and had the service performed by Pastor Pete. Six family members sang together "Set Me as a Seal." Cousin Kristina sang a beautiful rendition of "Make Me Whole."
The wedding was held at Winnetka Covenant Church. Here are the altar flowers and one of the pair of matching candleabras.
Jon and Krissy, Julie's parents and our longtime friends.
Adriana, the junior bridesmaid and Britta, the bride's sister, such beautiful girls!
Here are the newlyweds!
The reception was held nearby, and the appetizers and drinks were served in a lovely walled garden. Thank goodness, the rain stayed away just long enough before we went inside to enjoy our dinner.
Each of the tables were numbered and displayed a different symbol from the Asante culture of Ghana. Julie and Cassius wrote a little explanation about these symbols on a tag attached to the fabulous favor chocolates: "The Adinka symbols found on the tables play a major role in the Asante culture of Ghana. The symbols are primarily used to non-verbally communicate proverbs and values. We have tried to incorporate the symbols into our wedding day..."
Following the consumption of the delicious cake (can I mention here that the layers of cake were light and fluffy and the marzipan frosting was "to die for"), we danced the night away!
Much love to you, Julie and Cassius, as you begin your married life together! And, enjoy your well-deserved honeymoon!