Tuesday, May 31, 2011

When Fun and Scary Collide

Today we're heading back to the old homestead after a vacation in Palm Desert that was both lots of fun and kinda scary. We all had a wonderful weekend together, but the not-so-grand finale was my mom being rushed to the hospital to make sure her angina was just angina and no more. Thankfully, it looks like they will give her the all-clear to return home with a reasonably clean bill of health this morning. Once again, our selfless mom has overworked herself in our behalf.

Hoping to avoid a repeat of Monday's events, we've united in our insistence that she not bake up a storm next time we come (it wears her out), and I think she is willing to agree as long as we still let her cook the Sunday meal. Boy, does Mom ever enjoy cooking good food for the people she loves. We love that, too, but we love having her take care of herself even more!

Be that as it may, we are grateful to know that her heart has not been damaged. Maybe it was all the love inside that protected it yesterday. Couldn't hurt, right?

Love you, Mom!

PS. Today is my birthday, and I can think of no better present than the smiling face of my mother.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Legacy of Heroes

I'm glad that Jenny is giving those of us who flock like squawking magpies to her Saturday Centus meme each week an opportunity to pay tribute to our heroes on this Memorial Day weekend. We are allowed to add no more than 100 words to her prompt (which is in red, below), so I've decided to go with a poem.


Today we celebrate our troops,
whose valor must be praised.
Our nation is the legacy
of heroes, born and raised.

From sea to shining sea, they choose
to honor and protect
the laws and land that we revere,
the freedoms we respect.

The sacrifices of these men
and women stir our hearts,
invoking all the gratitude
their selflessness imparts.

We celebrate each one of them
and thank their families, too,
for rising to our country’s call
with courage known by few.

May we be true to all who serve,
and hold in memory,
each father...mother...daughter...son...
whose blood has kept us free.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Palm Springs and Other Things

Last night we decided to check out something special.

The Palm Springs Street Fair is always a good time.

We even asked the rabbi a few questions...

then hurried home for So You Think You Can Dance.

Speaking of SYTYCD, it seems like there are some pretty hot prospects this year. I'm looking forward to enjoying a brand new season of my favorite show.

As for Idol, I didn't get hooked in enough to vote this time, but I was glad Scotty won. He stayed consistent throughout and seemed like a great kid. I was especially struck by the ending where he hugged his entire family (and the other contestants) whilst singing the lame song the show wrote for him. "I Love You So Big???" Give me a break! Just what a 17-year=old guy always always wanted to croon to the world, right? A love song for two-year-olds. But I did think it was darling how he used his time to let everyone around him know that he cared about them.

Finally, my two favorites on Dancing with the Stars were Chelsea/Mark and Hines/Kym. I was surprised that Kirstie took 2nd place over Chelsea, but I was happy enough to see Hines win. (I liked the way he treated Kym after she was injured.) True, I was a little more into Chelsea than Hines, but Mark was a bit insufferable, so it's all good.


PS. At the street fair, there was a guy covering Neil Young songs so well that we had to look twice and then a third time to make sure he wasn't the genuine article!

PPS. The hubby bought me an early birthday present...a really neat wind catcher (the coolest one I've ever seen) to go on my back porch. I'll post a picture once I get home and find an appropriate place of honor to hang it!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Football Friendzy

Check out number 18.

He happens to be a football-lovin' grandma's dream.

In fact, he pretty much rocks the field, black gloves and all.

Whaddya think of that stance?

And the way he keeps his eye on the ball?

He's always in on the big plans...

ready and waiting to carry that pigskin down the sideline.

I guess you could say he's my hero.

His little bro think he's cool, too.

(so does the kid next to him)


photos courtesy of tendershootz

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thoughts on Parenting

Mama Denton of Sanatorium fame has an interesting blog hop going on today. Jen has asked for her readers' thoughts about the most important things parents need to teach their kids. She wants to hear everyone's ideas about which principles will lead children to become productive, independent, spiritual adults. I've decided to answer her question, but please understand that what I say here must be placed in the context of my personal paradigm and religious views. I realize that my answers are unique to my experience and products of my own belief system.

(Hope that clears the air. Parents are sensitive people with minds of their own, and a fellow traveler can never be too careful, especially when she might seem to be spouting unsolicited advice!)

Okay. As it happens, my children are productive, independent, spiritual adults, so I should know the answer to this question, right? Oddly, however, the older I get the more I realize that my teaching techniques and agendas didn't have as much to do with that outcome as I once imagined. These people I call my children are forces to be reckoned with in their own right, and I think they pretty much came that way. As parents, our main contribution was to love them thoroughly and to anchor them in a family of our making, one that offered the security they needed to grow into all of that magnificent potential they brought with them.

Speaking of magnificent potential, I guess the most important thing parents teach their children is where and from Whom that magnificent potential comes. The understanding that they are not simply our children but the children of a loving Heavenly Father is essential to their growth as spiritual beings, and we have a responsibility to share what we know with them. With that in mind, I have spoken many words for many years to my sons and daughter about what I think and believe, but I'm convinced that most of what they have learned from me (good and bad, by the way) has come from watching what I do. Parenting is no exception to the adage that example is the best teacher, and actions really do speak louder than words.

In a perfect parenting world (one which none of us will ever inhabit, by the way), we cultivate our children's independence by stepping back where feasible and allowing them to develop that trait. We encourage their productivity by being productive ourselves and inviting them to join us at an early age, while they are still enthusiastic about doing so. We resist doing too much for them, respecting their right to experience the thrill and empowerment of doing things for themselves. We don't always catch them when they fall or keep them from falling in the first place, for it is the act of getting up that instills confidence and self esteem. We expect them to do good things, and we consistently take the time to apply consequences (positive and negative) that help them nurture their inherent goodness and master their inherent worldliness.

Mostly, we cultivate a sense of family belonging and identity that makes them want to be part of everything we do and are. (Note to parents: This means making sure that most of what we do and are is worthy of emulation.)As they realize that they can count on us, come what may, a natural desire to return the favor is instilled. Act by act, example by example, unity is built...and unity is a powerful force in good parenting.

Of course, children are free to choose, and some will make choices that bring them (and their loved ones) untold days, months, and even years of grief. In the darkest days, mothers and fathers would do well to remember how deeply the seeds of a strong family can be planted in the heart and spirit, so deeply that they are never fully eradicated. If you build a good family, your potential for building good children is sky-high.

Here's what I believe: Being the kind of person you want your children to be is usually a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sooner or later, on your preferred timetable or one that makes you want to scream with impatience and frustration, the seeds you plant will almost certainly sprout and bear fruit. In this life or the next, a well-loved child is likely to become the person he or she was meant to be...a son or daughter of God who acts the part.

(In the meantime, and in all of my inadequacies, it's always been a comfort to me that He loves them even more than I do...and far more perfectly.)


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gather Family

The earthy candleholder gracing the middle of our dining room table says it all for me today. (Can you read the words that made me pay a ridiculous price to make it mine?) I can and do read them. Often.

I'm looking forward with no small amount of gusto to the gathering of my entire family this weekend for a reunion that coincides with the last day in May, aka my 59th birthday. Swimming, sun, love, laughter, golf, and gluttony will prevail. I can't wait.

Because no kind of happy is happier than having all of my family together!


PS. When I was young, I used to think Memorial Day was all about me. ;)

click below for more happiness

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tree of Hearts

Tree of Hearts

I'd like to be a tall heart tree,
with branches made to bear . . .

strong and firm and heavy-laden,
blessed with fruit to spare.

I'd like to offer nourishment
to all who stand in need

of food and shade and shelter, shaped
from fertile, hope-filled seed.

Sometimes my leaves are green and bright,
my harvest juicy sweet...

but other times, my leaves are dull,
my bounty incomplete.

It's up to me to face the sun
and drink the water clear...

to sink my roots into firm ground
and prosper, year by year.

If I would be a tall heart tree
with branches made to bear,

then I must tend and water well
the earth from which I share.


Will I be someone the Lord can count on
when He needs an extra pair of hands?

only if i am willing to offer them

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Vanishing Act

A fellow Centusian, Dazee Dreamer, graciously dreamed up today's prompt for Jenny Matlock, our favorite meme-meister. I've added slightly less than 100 words to give life to this mini-tale I tell. The prompt, as always, is in red.


Vanishing Act

©2011 Susan Noyes Anderson

She’d been disappearing for weeks, if such a thing were possible. Clues were fleeting: an odd translucence to her fingers, the soft break in her voice when she was talking, a feeling that her clothes were not quite filled.

This morning, though, she couldn’t feel her feet. Fear flamed, reached out, and raised her grandma’s voice: Close your eyes, Gracie. What you can’t see, can’t hurt you. Slamming those revealing orbs shut, she centered. Ridiculous! Absurd. And yet, the creeping dread still forced her down the hallway. Groping…blind…would terror be confirmed? She looked. Gasped. The reflection in the mirror was no more.


Friday, May 20, 2011

On Weathering the Weather

On Weathering the Weather
© 2011 Susan Noyes Anderson

I feel a bit like this today.
Beset by rain, I guess you'd say.
It's not enough to wash me out
but just enough to make me pout
and fail to see the clear, blue sky
that waits for a more willing eye.

We choose our weather, in a way,
(the kind we walk through every day).
Sunny, cloudy...flood or drought,
our temperature is all about
our view of life as we pass by.
The choice is ours to smile or sigh.

Come rain or shine, it's up to me.
My outlook shapes my destiny.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Eating What We Sow

To plant a garden makes us whole.

It warms the heart and feeds the soul.

No sweeter feast will e'er be known

than eating what our hands have grown.

(photos courtesy of tendershootz)

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

All in the Family

Like father...

Like son.

If it weren't for the fading colors, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between my son and grandson in many photos, especially from a side view. In fact, the strong resemblance reminds me of a poem I wrote a few years ago.

I've got the nose of Uncle Gene,
the eyes of Grandpa Fred,
the mouth of Aunt Virginia, and
the chin of Cousin Ted,
the hair of Grandma Applegate,
the Okelberry ear...
I hope they never take them back.
My head would disappear!


(our youngest and most camera-shy son)

(but he's smiling in this one!)

We love you, Toddy.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Perfect Pair

These two make me happy...
and they make other people happy, too!

My mom and her wonderful husband, who has been in our family since 1972 and is loved by all of us as both father and grandfather, are just about the best-matched pair I've ever seen. We are grateful every day that she "found" him, for there are few never-before-married bachelors who could have taken on a family of 5 children (and eventually, 15 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren) so flawlessly. This year, they will add three more lucky grandkids to the mix (my brother is marrying into these little cuties), and Grandma and Grandpa couldn't be more excited about stepping into that role! Yep, this delightful duo wrote the book on being the best parents and grandparents ever, and every member of our family loves them dearly.

click below for more happiness

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Graduate

Needless to say, we got to the stadium early.

Before long, the graduates were in their seats.

It was fun to see Todd's name flash up on the screen.

Even more fun to see him with his cap, gown, and honor cords.

I think he liked our card to him.

I know he liked chatting with his dad after the ceremony.

Aren't they a good-looking pair?

These caps are pesky things, aren't they?

The graduate, in all his summa cum laude glory!

(that's highest honors, folks)

And yes, we are shamelessly proud parents.


PS. Don't worry. He actually shaves for the med school interviews! heehee