Monday, July 27, 2009

My Mother

This is a small picture of my mother, taken when she was 12 or 13 years old. She was pretty all of her life, right down to the very last. Wow!

I like this picture because of the smile. This was a very bad time in her life. It was taken when she lived with her mother in Ft. Worth. Horror stories abound during this period. She soon went back to live with her grandparents where she received lots of love and family identity.

I also like this picture because I can see my two daughters in it. It is sometimes hard to see resemblances between grandparents and grandchildren because of the physical changes in the grandparents: hair (or none), wrinkles, etc. But in this picture I can see physical resemblances of my daughters, and I can see personality resemblances.

The one thing about your parents passing away is you get no more answers to your questions. You just have to scan your own memory in hopes that something was said at some time or other, and if so, you hope you are able to bring enough of it up to make some sense and answer your questions.

This pictures brings up some of those questions, presently unanswered. But it also just puts a nice smile on my face, and in my heart.

I still love you, Mother.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Birthday to Remember

What a great day I have had. As many of you know, I celebrate the whole month of July for my birthday. And I have had great things happen to me, so far. But the 16th is the actual day of my birth, at 3:50am, in a two-room house on Division St. in Greenville, TX. (See picture below, it was white when I was born. It is gone now, just a church parking lot.)

Anyway, my birthday started the night before at church with a birthday party after the service, and with a greeting from my nephew Chris. A great way to start. It was followed by many other email and facebook greetings. (I don't really participate in facebook, but I get an email any time someone writes on my "wall.")

It rained early on the 16th, lowering the temp about 20 degrees from the 101-degree day before. Judy took me to breakfast at my favorite place, Speedway. Then we rode bikes on the new part of the bike/walking trail that will eventually circle the city. I was lazy all day, just reading books, etc. and enjoying reading what I usually don't have time for because of study and preparation for preaching/teaching.

At 6pm we went to Okie's. It is a really nice restaurant in Muskogee with great food and service. My friends in South Africa paid for the meal. (See the picture above.) We had a piece of cheese cake that was totally unbelieveable! Mmmmm.....

Judy had prayed for the last few months that I would have a great birthday. We have really been going through some very stressful testing, and the day was a nice respite from all that. I got great cards, and two specially designed cards from my dear wife Judy, the graphics artist. She really knows how to do things up well!

This is the best birthday I have had in a very long time. I have not only enjoyed the day, but also ruminating about every aspect of the day. The Lord is good to me.

One kind of sad note. In 61 years, this is the first birthday without my mother. But even that wasn't totally sad, because I know she is so much better off, living a much fuller life than she had here on earth.

Friday, July 03, 2009

A time with Olivia and Ava

Kari, Olivia and Ava came to see us for a few days this week. And we had a great time! We did lots of fun things. Here are a few pictures.

We attended an Air Force band concert in Honor Heights Park. The girls were given flags to wave. They enjoyed marching around and dancing to the music.

One morning Ava, the early riser, joined Mimi and Papa on their walk. She is quite a walker and made the whole journey with us. What a delightful girl she is. Another day all 5 of us went on a walk together.

One of our neighbors has a beautiful flower garden. We couldn't resist taking Ava's picture amid all the beautiful flowers.

Later that same day, the girls wanted to walk with Papa down to Palmer Park to play. Now there are slides and swings to play on, but all they wanted to do was run along the stream between the two ponds, cross the wooden bridge, run down the other side and cross the rocks, and go around again. Around and around they went for 10 or so minutes.

Finally the Canadian geese came strolling by and the girls stood still to watch them pass. It was quite a show to see them in their stately single-file walk.
Our days together were entirely too short. But it makes us look forward to the next time.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Our Two Texas Precious Ones

It is always a pleasure to have my 'little ones' around. It is a special sound to me to hear, "Papa, Papa!" or "I love you, Papa."

Here are some pictures of Brent and Caitlyn. Brent is becoming a hunk of a boy. He commands whatever ground he is walking on, to be sure.

Here they are having fun chasing bubbles. We only had one full day with them, but we certainly made the most of it.

Mid-morning we were off to the greatest water park ever! Right here in Muskogee. Middle of the picture shows Brent holding his daddy's hand with Mama trailing behind. I think Caitlyn, Ms Energy-to-the-Max, was already way ahead.
On the way home from the water park, Ms Energy was all tuckered out. But Papa was soaking up the moment.

Another great moment, at Mazzio's Pizza with sweet, sweet Caitlyn. She is quite a helper and 'hostess.'

In the evening, we sat out on the porch and played with light sticks. We hid them in Mimi's garden and found them, over and over. Look at Brent, he is ALWAYS smiling. A very gentile, pliable child.

We ate breakfast outside, and truly enjoyed the weather and Mimi's beautiful backyard. Caitlyn is helping Mimi in the kitchen. The rest of us are trying to get ahead on the pancakes.

And finally, the only grandson I can play with. He is becoming a lot of fun to be around. Give him another year, and I may take him away from his parents for good. His daddy, Jeff, could never deny his paternity in a million years. He is a virtual carbon copy of his dad.
We are immeasureably blessed with our 3 granddaughters and our grandson. Life just keeps getting better! "Thanks be unto God who always causes us to triumph in Christ!"