Friday, December 12, 2008


I can't believe it is only two weeks until Christmas 2008. It is always a glorious time of year as we contemplate all God has done for each us of us. The thing that resonates the most for me, is I cannot comprehend God loving us so much that He sent His only Son to die for our sins, but I am so grateful He did. I have not been able to comprehend why I was blest to have the mother I did but I am so very grateful for her. I don't know why I was blest to be born in the United States, but I am so grateful I was. I am so grateful for the blessing of living in Lubbock, Texas, the blessing of my church Calvary Baptist in Lubbock, Tx, the blessing of being able to worship the God I choose in freedom, the blessing of our new pastor Dr. Richard rush, the blessing of hearing God's word proclaimed each week and finally the blessing of my beautiful family.

Last year we made a special effort to be together at mother's house for Thanksgiving for which I am so grateful. Carleen and Neale were here and bless Carleen's heart the day after saw to it that all the decorations were up so mother could enjoy them. Linda Mae and Carleen spent the whole day putting them up.

I always have my growing family over on December 23rd to celebrate Jesus's birthday and we wanted her to be there last year, but she did not feel like it. She did come over for lunch on Christmas day. I thorougly enjoy the music, the decorations, the food, the family, the togetherness. This time is so sweet and such a priceless reminder of God's love but it is sad because it is the first season without mother. She loved all this so much and always wanted her house decorated early so she could look and savor the reminders of Christmas. She always started planning early on what gifts to give everyone and what food we would have. We are grateful that she was always able to do this with help from her children until the end.

Finally God bless all who might happen to read this post and may the gift of God's son be real to you and hopefully occupy a place in your heart.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fall Reflections

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year and in Lubbock, TX, the weather is gorgeous. The days are warm, not hot and the nights are cool, a grim reminder that cold weather is just around the corner.

In my last blog entry I talked about the cute little spooks that visited our house on Holloween and our church's fall festival. We had a great time with the family but it was a sad time too. I think of last year before mother went to be with Jesus. She absolutely loved Holloween and made sure she had a lot of the best candy to give out. No cheap candy for her, she wanted all the real good chocolate candy and she wanted everyone to have plenty.....not just one piece from her. She wanted everyone to come in so she could see their costumes and we are grateful we have some cute photos of her last year. Who would have thought that last year would be her last year to enjoy this time of year.

This is part of the series of firsts I have had to experience since mother left this hard old world. Even though mother was 89 years of age, she would have been extremely involved in the sad election results of last night. I remember her saying over and over again that she didn't leave the Democratic party, it left her. She was not overly fond of John McCain, he has been too bi-partisan for her, but she would have absolutely loved Sarah Palin. (I just hope we have not seen the last of her. She makes me so proud of what it means to be a lady and she brought such class to the Republican ticket).

As I think over these last months, we have had to celebrate Easter, Mother's day, July 4th , her birthday, now Holloween with Thanksgiving and Christmas to follow all without her. It brings back a flood of memories because she was big on any excuse to get together with the family. Days in advance she would call and ask what the plans were. She was big into planning the food so we would do that and she was always involved until the last couple of years.

When our kids were growing up, we lived South of town in the country and we always had a cookout on the 4th. The whole family would come and bring their fireworks and we would gather in the front yard for our family fireworks display. Then, when it got good and dark, we moved to the back yard where we could watch a nearby race track do their spectacular fireworks show. I guess that is one of the few things I missed when we moved to longer a place to have the family over for fireworks on the 4th. We do have a swimming pool now so for awhile, we had a cook out and swimming on the 4th, but the pool is in need of repair so we have not done that for the last several years.

I am grateful we had a good celebration for her last several birthdays and that we made Easter and Mother's day special for her last year. It certainly taught us that we are to live in the moment and to make each day special as we never know what is ahead for us. I miss you mother and I hope you know how much I loved you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

October musings

I have not updated my blog since I spoke of Jaykin and Tiffany's wedding which was the end of June 2008. A lot has been going on and for some reason I stay busy but don't seem to acomplish near as much as I used to. Mother's house is finally on the market and looks really good. There has been a lot on internet activity and several people have looked at the house several times. I wish we could have had it ready to sell a couple of months ago but I just could not get everything done.

Brianna was on a soccer team for the first time this year. She did very well and had a good time. I wish she had been able to play before as she seems to have a nack for it and it is so good for her. They had the last game last Saturday and it was kind of sad. The whole family has gone and it has been a fun hour each week. The weather has been incredible all except one day when they nearly had to play in the rain.

Brad's whole family and I attended Brianna's first choir concert October 16th . She is in the advanced choir even tho she is just in the sixth grade. She looked so grown up and she sings so well. I am thrilled since singing has always been a huge part of my life. She is learning lifelong skills. I hope she will stick with it.

Last Saturday our church had it's annual fall festival. It is a huge party for the kids of the church and the neighborhood. The children dress up in their Holloween costumes and we have dozens of game booths where they can earn candy and outside we have lots of big jumpers and a small train they can all ride. This is all for the very small cost of $1.00.

The kids were all so precious: Brad's group starting with the youngest going forward was Silas as a mandrake plant, Memphis as Spiderman, Carson as Snow White, Cody as Hermione from Harry Potter, Brianna as Sarah Palin and Megan as Hillary Clinton. They were all so cute.

Then the great grandchildren came. Ryan, was a turtle, Jayden was a butterfly, Kadence was spiderman, and Kaya was a pea. I am really not a fan of Holloween as a holiday but I love seeing the kids all dressed up. I am not a fan of candy either but I hope the parents can dispose of most of it so the kids won't be on a perpetual high.

By the way our church runs between 400 and 500 each Sunday in attendance and we probably had 1200 plus at our festival. It was a huge success and the weather cooperated.

My precious daughter-in-law Megan writes a very clever blog so I am putting a link here so you can read hers. It is much better than mine and very enjoyable. Be sure to check it out, in fact I would check it out regularly because it is so much fun. Here is the link: Be sure and scroll down and check out her previous blog from baby Silas's point of view. It is priceless. Of course you have to remember that this is from a proud grandmother's point of view. .

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Beautiful Wedding

This post is a couple of months late and I am sorry for that. The last Saturday in June on the 28th, Jaykin Ribordy and Tiffany Kamp got married. Jaykin is the youngest son of my daughter Brenda. They got married at the Garden and Arts Center here in Lubbock and it was lovely. Jimmy Williams, my oldest son performed the ceremony and I thought he did an outstanding job. The wedding was small by today's standards but had a lot of family on both sides and was a lot of fun.

Jaykin is a special young man in many ways. His mother had had her tubes tied to prevent any more children in their family when she got pregnant with him so we have always felt he was special. God must have had a special plan for him to overcome those obstacles to get here.

Jaykin just recently graduated from college in the spring. This was such an achievement because he delayed even starting college in the first place a couple of years because his dad had a couple of strokes that turned their family upside down. He helped his mom out a lot since Rick will never be able to work again. He still works two jobs just to get ahead.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Fabric Fiasco

You might be wondering what in the world would be interesting about fabric on a blog. Bear with me. A number of years ago I operated a small clothing business from my home. I sold things in craft shows and a local craft mall. It was definitely small stuff but I did make $33,000 from things I made myself my last year in business. I made beautiful skirts, matching vests, decorated T-shirts, appliqued vests, appliqued blouses, beautiful glitzy jackets, a cute Santa sitter couple and so on. After reflecting on the hours I was working each day (7:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight), I decided to get a job. For awhile, I did not only the job but continued to maintain the booth at the craft mall and did both.

Those hours got to be too much after awhile so I decided to close the business. I always meant to do something with all that fabric but had never gotten around to it. The reason I had so much fabric is that to get the best price, you need to buy the whole bolt. Well anyway, I had the fabric stored in a spare bedroom. It was stacked according to colors, types and so on. One weekend a few years back while I was out of town visiting my oldest son Jimmy, my husband decided he wanted to pack away the fabric. He did so without my knowledge and when I came home there were 17 large boxes in the garage with my fabric.

Now the problem with all this is that I would have liked to do this myself. I would have put the stuff I wanted to keep and use somewhere different than the other stuff. Although I want to rid our lives of most of it, there are some fabric that I absolutely will not part with. I had much of it sorted out and in shelves with all the reds together, the blues together, the blacks together and so on. The purpose of this was so that if I wanted to applique something, or if I ever got around to learning to quilt, it would be easy to see what I had and get with the task. This was all mixed in with the other stuff.

I have to tell you that my husband Bob is the greatest. He is a good husband in most important ways but with regard to this one endeavour, his virtues were lost to me as he had no idea of the problems he created for me. To get back to the story, in getting my mother's house ready to sell, we have had one garage sale and now plan for at least one more if not two. The reason was to sell mother's stuff nobody wanted but I needed to sell some of my stuff to make room for the things I am moving to my house. So we have been selling not only her stuff but some of ours. I decided to tackle the fabric issue for our upcoming sale and started going through the 17 large boxes in the garage.

As I started this huge task, Sunday night I became angry all over again because I was reminded of the huge amount of extra work this had created for me. I was not a good role model of what to do when irritated with the spouse for some reason. Bob disappeared for awhile and I don't blame him. I finally got down to the last box last night and I have sorted, measured, and priced the fabric for the garage sale. It is all dirt cheap and I hope there a few people who will appreciate the beautiful assortment I have. One of the things that made my things different and pretty was the combination of patterns and fabric in my original way on the garments I created. I do owe Bob an apology although he has been sweet ever since regardless because I think he realizes he should have asked me before he packed it all up and I would have begged him to wait til I got home and we could do it together as it would be better for me that way.

To be fair, when these 17 boxes are gone and the stuff my packrat husband has saved for years is gone our garage might again resemble a garage. It has not been that I want to hold on to stuff, I just hate cleaning closets, sorting drawers, organizing cabinets, and all that builds up. I have noticed that I have over used the word "stuff" in this piece but really can't think of another word that would do the job.

Mother would be so proud of our garage as it will be in a few days, as she always hated it when I could not park in the garage. Bob is really trying to let go of some of the things and that is definately real good.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Getting Mom's House Ready to Sell

I have been meaning to update my blog but I have been busy trying to get the stuff out of my mother’s house so we can get her house on the market. It was really hard in the beginning but it no longer feels like her house so now it is just hard work. We are going to have a garage sale on Friday and Saturday and then everything that does not sell is going to be boxed up and donated to some place that can use the things. We have been working non stop for several weeks and I am beyond tired. I don’t have the energy or strength like I did when I was younger to work on something day and night and not feel the sting of it.

When my brother and sisters were here the last of June and the first of July we started the process. We pulled everything out of the attic, the closets and the high cupboards and divided those things of value at that time. However after everyone went home there is still tons of stuff to deal with.

Growing up, our mom taught us a deep love and appreciation for reading. Long before we had television, we would go to the public library and the whole family would check out books to read. Many times I would read all of mine and then in addition read my older sister’s before we had to return them. Mother read aloud to us when we were small and then we all read as a family later on. She had quite a collection of books herself. I am going to try and sell the paperback novels, but I can’t bring myself to do that with some of her finer books. Some of them I will keep and others will be donated to Exodus Prison Ministry or somewhere else that would appreciate them.

Mother loved the Lord and one of the ways she worshiped Him was through sacred music. She had many records by different Christian artists and later on she had all the videos by Bill Gaither and the homecoming friends. I am sure she has everyone they ever made and even some duplicates. She would forget she had ordered them and order again.

One of the nice things about keeping so much stuff is that everyone has been able to have something that will remind them of her. Each of the children and grandchildren and great grandchildren here have been able to choose something meaningful from her house. I thought it precious to see my oldest grandson have on display on a shelf an old beat up hand egg beater of mom's. Long before electric mixers came into being she could beat those eggs up a storm on her hand mixer. I remember her making her famous cream pies with that rusty old beater.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I have highlighted two of our 18 special grandchildren on my blog. I will get around to all of them even if it takes me all year because they are all special in their own unique way. Today I want to talk about Rose. She is the youngest child of my oldest son Jimmy and his wife Misty. I introduced you to her oldest brother Drew in my last post. As I thought of some of the thoughts I wanted to capture about Rose, I tried to think of the things that make her special. She is a adorable 9 year who is real comfortable in her skin. She is self-confident, happy, funny, smart, graceful, fun, and of course we think beautiful. She looks just like her mother did at that age and her grandmother, Shirley before her.

We had the privilege of attending Rose's ballet recital on May 17 this year. She has been studying ballet in a classical ballet studio for about 5 1/2 years and that is why she has so much poise and is graceful. Ballet does that for the dancers. They may never go on to become a professional dancer but the dicipline of the training molds the muscles in the body in a unique way to produce the gracefullness ballet requires. It has been so much fun to watch her progress from the tiny little child to the young lady she is now.

Rose seems to be real happy being herself. I think her parents are showing her they value her and know she is special. Life seems to go smoother for those of us who are confortable with who we are and I am praying that will be the case with sweet Rose. I pray she will always feel loved and cherished by all of us and that strong love will keep her safe and pure as she grows up. I love you Miss Rose.

Monday, June 9, 2008

What Make a 15 year old young man special?

What makes a 15 year old young man special?

Our 15 year old grandson Drew Williams received his Eagle Scouting award on May 19th. Drew is a part of a group of 8 young men who started their scouting journey in third grade. One of the young men moved away but the remaining 7 young men agreed to stay together as a group and to pursue the goal of Eagle Scout. All of the seven were awarded this coveted achievement on that night. To achieve this goal is extremely hard but for all seven to complete the task is remarkable.

Drew is a handsome 15 year old who plays tennis on the school tennis team, is active in his youth group at church and in his scout group and is on the honor roll. He is an artist and very mature for his age. Robert and I were fortunate to be at the banquet before the awards ceremony and at the ceremony where Drew received this remarkable award.

Of course a young man who achieves all this has to have a great set of parents and Drew has a great dad (our son Jimmy Williams) and wonderful mother, Misty. Misty and Jimmy are involved in all of their three children’s lives. Jimmy is an assistant scoutmaster and has been a big influence on Drew being where he is. Drew has established some valued life skills that will help him in all his future endeavors along with a strong spiritual foundation which will guide him in the days to come.

Requirement 6 of the Eagle Scout Rank Application was to write his Life Purpose and Ambitions. The rest of this paragraph is a quote from his paper. " My career and financial successes are not at all what my top priorities are for my future though. I aspire to be someone to be remembered, not just someone who did well and made some money. As a Christian raised in a God-loving home and an active member of a church youth group at First Baptist Church of Wichita Falls, Texas, my number one life goal is to be a living witness for Christ in all areas. I want to live as an example to follow. In my eyes, my life is worth nothing if I never use it to make a change in someone else's. As a Christian I strive to be somebody's door to Christ, and help lead them toward a new life."

This is a tribute to the achievement of Drew to reach this point in his life. It is also a grateful acknowledgement to his fine parents who chose long ago to demand the best of their children and to demonstrate these same elements in their own lifestyle. We are extremely proud of Drew but equally proud of Jimmy and Misty for the way they are raising their children.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Milestones in Grief

I now have survived not having mother at my house on Easter and Mother's day. For a long long time now, I have fixed lunch for my mother and Bob's mother on both days. It was sad to realize things would never be the same again. Tuesday May 13th was our church's annual Daughter's banquet for which I am in charge and have been for 12 years. I can't seem to get out of being in charge. We had about 175 in attendance and the program was good, the food great and the program wonderful. This is the first year since I have been in charge that mother has not been my special guest so that was sad of course. Her strength was beginning to fail last year. She called and told me she didn't feel up to coming but at the last minute changed her mind and wanted to come. I was so glad she came.

The family that did our program was a couple who met while at Texas Tech and were members of Calvary at that time. They married 27 years ago and have 11 children and they all play stringed instruments. 8 of the children and the parents put on a musical program for us. Anyway when they were in college they often ate Sunday lunch with mother and remember her well. They remember her graciousness to them while students away from home. We had an adopt college students program for awhile and the church members would adopt a student for a school year and help them feel welcome at Calvary and provide a home away from home.

I take comfort in knowing mother was proud of my involvement in things at church following in her footsteps. She was involved in teaching a ladies Sunday School class for many years and in a Bible study group that met on Tuesday's for years at her home. This was an outgrowth of ladies at our church who wanted to study the Bible in more depth each week. Out of that Bible study came the establishment of a Bible correspondance prison ministry called Exodus that ministers to men and women in prisons all over the United States.

Our church has been without a Senior pastor for 18 months. Everytime I talked to her on the phone or had lunch with her on Thursdays she asked how the search was going. I happened to be on the pastor search team this time so we talked about what we were doing often. Last Sunday, our church extended a call to Dr. Richard Rush from El Paso to be our next senior pastor and he graciously accepted. Mother would be so proud. I think she would have loved knowing him. She was our church staff's biggest supporter.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Am I Accident Prone or Just Careless

Wish I knew the answer. It seems I am either accident prone or careless but probably it is a combination of the two. My latest episode happened Saturday afternoon about 3:00 p.m. Robert was going to ride his bicycle and I said wait I want to go. I got my bike but did not put on my gloves, or even tennis shoes. This proved to be a very foolish decision. About half way through the bike ride I got too close to a retaining wall around a flower bed and nearly ripped the little toe on my left foot off. It required 7 stitches in the emergency room to repair what happened due to my haste. The toe is broken and is now taped to the toe next to it for the next 6 or 8 weeks. Actually I am grateful I was not injured more seriously. I am still mad at myself because I don't have time for this. Do we ever?

Actually I have had an accident of some sort for the past three years. Last year I stubbed my big toe (of course I was in sandals) and ripped the nail nearly off. A friend of mine, Dr. Craig Barker rescued me and took the rest of it off. He said it was the ugliest toe he had seen in awhile.

Then in October of 2006, I took Brianna, Meyson, Isaac and his friend Andy to The Corn Maize". It is a real neat place here near Lubbock. They actually plant a one mile square field into a different maize each year. Then in the fall when the corn has gotten really tall, they allow groups to go through the maize. They are making more money off the maize than they ever did when they just farmed this land. Anyway, Brianna and I got through the first half with no problem. When we were going through the second half, it was really dark by that time. The boys ran off with the flashlight and so I could not see too good. We came to a spot where it look kind of like the path but actually was not. As I stepped that way I was caught and flipped over a substance that keeps the corn from falling down and landed on my left shoulder and broke it in three places. It was really the arm in the shoulder area. It was so high up that it could not be set so that was quite an ordeal.

I need to explain that my husband Robert goes to Mexico quite often and usually whenever, I have an accident, when we have a disaster at our home, if the car breaks down, he is in Mexico. Luckily when I nearly tore my toe off, he was here to not only advise me how to avoid such incidents in the future he was able to take me to the emergency room.

When I broke my arm he was in Mexico so he was unavailable to help. The Maize people helped round up my group and I took Isaac's friend home, then took Meyson, Brianna and Isaac to our house. Brad (Brianna and Meyson's dad) was out of town so I could not call him. Isaac's family live in Mexico so that was out. I drove myself to the emergency room and was there until about 4:00 a.m. when I drove to an all night pharmacy for pain meds and then went home. I had to sleep in my recliner for about 6 weeks as they could not cast the arm so trying to lay down was very painful.

Sooo you can see where this is coming from. I hope I am through with careless accidents for all time. My whole left side is a mess. We can start at the shoulder - broken in three places 2 years ago, wrist broken about 7 years ago, big toe nail - ripped off last year and now this. I am healthy in every other way so I am grateful to God and Usana for that. But I am a very visable person ..... I teach adult Sunday School, sing in our church choir, and sang at a funeral today so I am always having to explain what happened to me. It is pretty embarrassing.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Brianna goes to Denver

The last week of March 2008 was a special week for my granddaughter, Brianna. Last fall Brianna auditioned to be one of 140 singers at a national conference of OAKE in Denver. There were 900 audition CD's submitted and she was lucky or good enough to make it. Brianna sings beautifully but she does not have the confidence she needs yet so she does not think she is that good but hey, her parents and I and her teacher, Mrs. Flemming all know she is good. Anyway she did make it and I was lucky enough to get to take her to Denver for the conference. I would have given anything to have been a part of such an event when I was her age (10). I started singing as soon as I could talk but really never got into an organized choir until I was in the 8th or 9th grade.

The week was packed full of fun but it was also packed with a lot of hard work. We arrived on Wednesday and she had her first rehearsal that evening. They rehearsed all day on Thursday, half a day on Friday and until about 3:00 p.m. on Saturday. Then they had their big concert on Saturday evening at the opera house in Denver.

Brianna kept a journal each day and it is cute as can be. She put it on the computer and I believe we are going to start a blog for her so she can journal online. This event was full of first things for Brianna. She got to fly for the first time, stay in a a 5 star hotel for the first time, go to a large acquarium for the first time, ride the free shuttle for the 16th Street Mall in Denver, ride on an escalator, eat at a food court for the first time and she received her first bouquet presented to her by her school Principal, Mrs. Rollo.

Each day had its own set of thrills. The Denver Acquarium not only has all kinds of fish but they also have some snakes and two tigers, some giant eels and even some sharks. I had never been that close to Sharks before but I can see why they do so much damage when they attack people. Their teeth are vicious and they have several rows of them. The tigers must have been hungry because when Brianna stood by the glass so I could take her picture with a tiger in the photo one of them lunged at the glass and scared Brianna to death. She was so scared she screamed and started crying and I could understand why. I was glad they were very secure because it was a very frightening experience. We finished up with the acquarium in a hurry and made out way back to the hotel to meet with her friends and their families to go to a place called Las Casa Bonita to eat. The place is huge and can accomodate 1000 people. You stand in line just like 6 flags so you don't realize how long you have been in line. The girls loved it because they have a pool with cliff divers, an old West shoot out, and all sorts of activities to keep the kids entertained. It was quite an experience for Brianna.

On Saturday, they had their rehearsal, their dress rehearsal and finally their performance. Let me tell you, I was astonished at the quality of their performance. I could not believe they were only 9 and 10 years old. It was wonderful and I am so proud Brianna got to take part in such an event. Next year the group goes to Washington D.C. and I hope Brianna will make it and can go. She will be auditioning for the middle school choir.

I saw a friend in Denver as his daughter's choir was performing in a workshop for the teachers. He said it best when he said music is a life skill. It can go with them through their whole life and I can attest to that. I am getting pretty old but I still sing in the church choir but more than that, it can give you a love for good music and perhaps a desire for teaching others to sing or play. Music can be forever. You may not enjoy sports all your life but you will enjoy music.

Each one of the grandchildren are special and after I go see Rose dance and Drew receive his Eagle award I will write about them

Monday, April 7, 2008

Great Cathedrals

Maybe all this preoccupation with thoughts of my mother are normal when you lose someone as recently as I have, March 5th to be exact. All those closest to her have spent much time in reflection on her life and her struggles, which were many. We have discussed or written about when grief suddenly hits us and how we are coping. It is different for each of us. I am not a gifted writer like my niece Kristen or my son Brad but have been compelled to write down my thoughts of my mom on my blog. I suppose this is to preserve these thoughts so that as time dulls the ache left by her absence, I will not forget my heritage or my legacy from a truly great woman.

I recently read a short essay about great cathedrals in Europe. No one can say who built the great cathedrals as there seems to be no record. But it took years and years to build them and many times the workmen never saw the work even completed. The story is told of a rich man who came to visit a cathedral during construction. He saw a workman carving a tiny bird into one of the great supporting beams. He asked the workman why he was spending so much time on something that would never be seen. The workman replied “Because God Sees”. It is said that no great cathedrals will be built in our lifetime because there are no workman who would be devoted enough to spend their lives building something they might never see to completion.

I saw my mother’s life reflected in the words of the essay. She never saw the completed greatness of her life’s greatest work, which was the investment of love and beauty to her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and the generations that follow. She loved us all for our differences and appreciated us for the God given gifts she saw manifested in our lives. She often spoke of the challenge of having a large family. It seemed we were cooking and washing clothes all the time, when I was growing up. We all had to help with the work of our large family, but we all can cook and clean and wash because she was teaching us in the process of living life. Some of her friends commented about her not being able to do some of the things they did because of her large family. Many times in her later years she commented on the blessing of her family and especially during the last weeks of her life when we all contributed to her well-being during her passing.

I think of the sacrifices she made so that we always had a good Christmas. Sometimes the gifts were very simple but she made the presentation special. She always started planning early so we could have gifts on a crowded budget. She did get up at 4 or 5 in the morning to bake chocolate, lemon or coconut cream pies and put the turkey on to cook. Or she would bake homemade cinnamon rolls while we were at school on a cold winter day so that when we got home from school we were met with their sweet aroma welcoming us home. This might be on a day when we were running low on food so she hoped this would distract us from the fact that supper was going to be very sparse.

As a mother she was building a great cathedral for the world. Of course it is invisible so the world will never marvel at what she built or at the beauty that has been added to the world by her sacrifices but we as her children know and we marvel.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I guess it just takes time

Well it has now been two weeks since our dear mother passed from this life to the next. Although we know she is at peace and no longer in the great pain that had gripped her for weeks, it is so hard to pass by the places we took her and places we knew she loved without being overcome with grief. It was hard to go to church Sunday because we have worshiped at the same church, she and I for over 40 years. She had not been able to come for a couple of years but just knowing she would not be coming ever again was hard. On the way to church, I pass by her favorite restaurant, a place called “Ronnie’s”. She always ordered Chicken Teriyaki and Sweet Rice and Custard. Ronnie and Sheila, the owners came to her services because they knew how much she loved going there.

There is a corner on the way home where I can either turn left and go to mother’s house or I can zigzag right and go to my house. I go through this intersection many times in a week and it seems a lump comes in my throat every time I pass through it. I’ve been told that time will heal all this and I know it’s true.

I used to pick her up and take her to the beauty shop on Thursdays. Then when she was finished, I would pick her up to take her home. We would always get some food and eat lunch together after I took her back home. It is hard for me on Thursdays when I think of what I have done for years and no longer have to do. I keep thinking, oh mother, I just wish I was picking you up again today. She was always so sweet at the beauty shop thanking everyone for everything as was her nature.

I wonder how long the ache lasts and when you stop tearing up so often? I wake up hoping we will not forget her impact on so many lives any time soon. I don’t know what lasting impact she had on others but I hope I will be kinder to all I come in contact with. I want to be friendlier and more interested in everyone I meet. I want to think the best and I vow to avoid being reactionary to unpleasant events. She valued and loved her family above all else next to her God and I want to be able to show my dear little family, I am trying to do the same. During her last days both in the hospital and at home she said over and over how proud she was of her family. She always wondered what people did who had no family. She thanked Linda Mae and I over and over for seeing to her care. Even when she hurt in the night, she would urge us to get some sleep.

As we have found old letters and information about our mother, we have discovered she had an unbelievably hard life….….much harder that we had thought. As we contemplate this, it becomes ever more real how extraordinary she was. To maintain the sweet spirit and cheerful attitude after having endured all she did is amazing. I always knew I was lucky to have her as my mom but have been convinced how blessed we who are children are to have been lucky enough to call her mother. Luck really has nothing to do with it. God decides those type things. It says in the Holy word that he sees us in our mother’s wombs where we are fearfully and wonderfully made. So I am grateful to God that he chose her to be my mom. All around us are those who are not fit to be called mother so this is not a blessing to taken lightly or for granted.

What am I hoping to accomplish by writing these words? I really don’t know other than I just don’t want to forget my remarkable roots. I don’t have anything I wish I had said to her that was left unsaid. She knew I loved her and valued her as did all her children and grandchildren. Maybe this expression will make me feel better but it will be a tribute to her and her life that hopefully will live on. All of wish we had spent a little more time with her, that we had called her more often, that we had listened to her stories more, that we had just dropped by more often, that we had told her we loved her more but I am trusting that she knew she was loved by all of us. And we are honored to have come from us. We do love you mama and we do miss you so much.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Cycle of Life

I have been trying to think what title to give this little chapter. The past month has been one of the difficult things to live through in my life. My dear mother, Doris Kennington started feeling poorly and so my sister scheduled her for an appointment with the Dr. who in turn ordered tests. She was admitted to the hospital and they ran an upper and lower G.I. test along with a cat scan. They discovered a very large peptic ulcer which is usually very treatable. However the treatment nearly killed our dear little mother resulting in yet another hospitalization lasting 8 days. To make this concise, they discovered she had both a bladder infection and kidney infection, she has a scattering of blood clots in her lungs, a very large deep vein thrombosis blood clot in her left leg, two cists on her liver, a deep rattling cough in her chest and the result of all this is that she probably will not survive. She has been gravely ill for the past three weeks and has not been eating or drinking to regain strength and has been in intense pain. I guess she has run out of strength to fight any more.

These past weeks have made us all evaluate her and her life and celebrate who she is. We are so grateful we had a nice birthday celebration for her in August of 2007. We also had the biggest thanksgiving group we’ve had in years for her at her house in November of 2007. The house was filled with 2 daughters and a son and numerous grand children, great grandchildren and some very young great-great grandchildren. It was noisy, boisterous and fun. She was quiet but very happy.

So how do you let go of someone who has been such a blessed part of your life for so many years? Gratefully, those of us who know Jesus depend on Him to show us the way. We now want His peace and comfort for her above all else. We don’t want to let her go but we don’t want her to suffer anymore. Each of her seven living children have been able to come and see her and tell her of their love for her before she goes. Some of the grandkids and their families have come by to see her before she goes and yet others don’t want to see her in the shape she is in now but choose to remember the recent good times. I go by everyday several times a day because I want her to know I love and cherish her and I want to see if I can help make her more comfortable. It is hard and breaks your heart but it part of the cycle of life.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Reflections on Big Familes

Big families are fun and ours is simply exploding. I grew up in a large family. There were 5 girls and 3 boys and we have added 21 grandchildren for mother and I don't know how many great grandchildren or great-great grandchildren since then. I personally have 17 grandchildren and we are expecting one more in June. Holidays used to be especially wild. We would gather at mother's house at Christmas and Thanksgiving and even if all could not be there it was always a wild boisterous group and loads of fun. There would be games going on at tables, football games on the television and if the weather was nice outside, more things going on outside. My sister Joy's five boys were especially interested in wildlife and you could always depend on them to find a frog, or snake, or turtle, or bird or bug or spider or two to keep things interesting.

Thanksgiving 2007 was a celebration of that fact. As many of us that could got together at my mother, Doris Kennington's house and celebrated once again. We fed close to 30 people and with the group that came over later, we had 36 people there. Mother loved every minute. She has always been so proud of her family and loved all the little and big ones. She is proud of their accomplishments and just loves being around whoever can come. We had Neale and Carleen from the Rockwall, Jim & Misty and their three children from Wichita Falls, and Robin and Rodney and their two children from Hobbs, New Mexico. These were the ones from out of town, but we also had a large group from Lubbock to join with us to make this special for mother.

She said that it reminded her of when we were younger when we all had little kids and it was such a mad house at mother's for the holidays. We used to set long tables up in the garage to feel the crowd. I guess we had 35 to 40 people or more in those days. She has been sick lately so we are not sure she will live to see another Thanksgiving so we are so grateful that we went all out last year.

I have talked about what a special person mother is. She is the true martriarch in our family and she is the glue that has held us together all these years. There was always room at the table for one more and always enough food to go around and then some. She started planning weeks in advance and even after she was unable to cook anymore, she always wanted to be sure we were going to have a special day and meal.