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Making memories to share; though far apart!

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Meet Fluflane

 

     Back in March, this woodchuck showed up in our yard. And for some reason, continues to hang around. So far he has been a lone creature. No mate, no kits or cubs, (you can choose) have joined the scene. But everyday, sometime after 5pm he  makes an appearance. As long as we are viewing him from inside our house and through a window we are privileged to get a close up photo. Zoom on my iPhone brings him in even closer. Last weekend, while my two Memphis area granddaughters were visiting, I was hoping he would excite us all by popping out from his burrow but alas, it didn’t happen. Only after I was returning from meeting their mom, did he show up.

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Meet Snuffy

     All was not lost, because you see the little doggy in the photo above? Well, a few days ago he came close to our house looking for food. Apparently, someone just dropped him off in the country (people do that sometime unfortunately) and he has found his way to our place. Problem is he is very skittish. He will run up on the deck, grab a bite of food and run off again as fast as his little legs will carry him. With the coyotes lurking around, this little critter won’t last very long, if we can’t rescue it. It will take time, but every day we put out food and water. It’s our hope that it will come to trust us. Then we will see what happens.

     So, last Saturday, though my granddaughters missed seeing the woodchuck, they did get to see our doggy friend. They even assisted me in laying out some snacks for him to coax him into the house. He did come into the house for the treats but darted out the door before we could close it. He is still a runaway at this point, however. But we will, for his sake, keep trying. 

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     Interesting little fact is this little stray looks just like the pet of my granddaughters who live in Texas. Their dog is what is called a Cheweinnie. Our little stray looks like his twin. I am not in the market for a dog, but apparently a higher power is thinking otherwise.

     The point of this post is that in order to make our missionary grandsons a part of the experience, we gave them the task of naming our new friends. The woodchuck was given the name of Fluflane. The twin to Charlie, is Snuffy. We have taken videos and photos and sent them to all the grandchildren; near and far.

     We have grandchildren in Tennessee, Texas, Florida, and Africa. I have to be deliberate in making memories that we can share. Thanks to technology, this is made possible. 

 

Traditions, Keeping Us Close

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Sleepy Hollow dvd

This is the original VHS we watched!

   Celebrating our family traditions gets a bit tricky when distance is factored in.  One in particular, is a tradition I like to celebrate every autumn. Ever since my children were little, come September I would pull out the fall decorations to set the stage for watching The Legend of Sleepy Hollow video. And not just any video by this name! Nope, it had to be the Disney version narrated by Bing Crosby! (pictured above)

   I have a rich store of memories of my four children and I viewing that video! Eventually, grandchildren came along. And as soon as September appeared on my calendar, out came my autumn decorations and out came that video. A cozy time,of eating pumpkin shaped shoppingcandy while listening to Bing’s narration is permanently etched in my memory? 

   Children move away. And you might think they would all be done with this particular autumn revelry. That, I discovered, wasn’t necessarily the case! Even as adults, my children perpetuate this traditional autumn happening in their own homes!

   For example, I fondly remember  delivering my son his own DVD of Sleepy Hollow, after he and his wife moved away to attend college in Texas (photo below). No, they didn’t have children yet. But that didn’t matter. The point was to keep the memories flowing as we continue to observe this tradition. 

bobby & me sleepy hollow

You just don’t ever grow out of some things

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Updated a few years ago to the this DVD

   Perhaps because of the direction God was calling him, my son determined family traditions would keep the vast distances that would separate us from seeming so vast. Thus perpetuating the tradition of watching Sleepy Hollow would serve that purpose.

   Now he is in Africa. Just the other day I pulled out the Sleepy Hollow video. Though no grown up children, or young grandchildren were present, viewing it  brought them close. Remembering  special moments like the photo above,  I snapped a picture and texted it to my son, with the caption you see here. Interestingly, he had just read the story to his sons. Watching the video will soon occur.

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Missing You!

Distance may separate us in miles, but the traditions we carry over will keep us close!

 

 

 

 

Sweetness in the sacrifices

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   I have 10 grandchildren. Eight of them live here in the States. Two of them live out of country. Recently, I was able to gather, from 3 different states, my stateside grandchildren (ages 6 to 13)  for what we have come to call “Nammy Camp.” It’s a time of good old fashioned fun; like swimming in Nammy’s above ground pool, gathering the extended family for a cook out, eating meals outside on Nammy’s picnic table, riding Great Grandma’s Kawasaki Mule vehicle, exploring the woods, taking walks, having a water balloon fight, cooking delicious cakes and brownies, playing chess, rising early to see the sunrise, chasing fireflies at twilight. Basically, spending a lot of fun time using the ole imagination! Missing my two youngest grandchildren the whole time. 

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   But it’s important to keep it all in perspective. We knew when my son and daughter in law left for Africa life would change. Our son and his family left their stateside family to share the good news about Jesus to people who hadn’t been reached before. In order for them to do that, sacrifices had to be made. 

   Sacrifices like making memories without all the grandchildren present. I won’t sugar coat it and say, “Oh, it’s not so bad!” But honestly, it is. But I’m wise to the fiery darts of negative thinking that would have me focus on my losses. God’s grace and mercy enable me to direct my focus on what I am gaining. Like the blessings of grandchildren no matter where they are. The benefits enjoyed by those who get to hear about Jesus because we all were willing to make the sacrifices. Filling up my mind with these beautiful thoughts, leave little room for negativity. 

   It’s a discipline that I have to practice consistently. But when I do, life is sweeter for the effort. 

AND THE STOCKINGS WERE HUNG?

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   Christmas traditions vary from family to family. And over the years life gives rise to changes. As my family of 6 (2 adults, 4 children) grew, so did the number of Christmas stockings that were ‘hung by the chimney with care.’ At this time, 20 individualized stockings will be filled with gifts, fruit, candy, and nuts. Sixteen of them will hang from my mantle. Four of them will grace a cozy little home, way over in Africa!

   Christmas stockings are a big deal in our family. Every item, excluding the fruit, is individually wrapped. Guaranteeing the escalation of fun with the unwrapping of each and every item. 

   Because we can’t imagine a Christmas without stockings, great effort is always made to ensure stockings and Christmas presents make a joint appearance come Christmas.  This has proven to be a little tricky over the years with our son and his family. Yet God has been faithful. Because of His provision we have been able to send both stockings and presents  to wherever our son and his family have found themselves at Christmas time.  

   For instance, when our son and his family returned to the field in August, empty Christmas stockings were strategically placed within their luggage. In early November, I gathered, wrapped, and packed items for those stockings. Then after Thanksgiving, stocking contents (along with Christmas presents from their families back home) will travel with dear friends across the ocean.  As Christmas draws near, the stockings will be filled with the items we sent, and the presents will be placed around their tree. Come Christmas, my son and his family will have as complete a Christmas as our family can manage.

   Would I prefer to have all 20 stockings filled and hanging from my mantle for Christmas? Of course I would! But God had other plans. And because we ALL trust Him to do what is best for us, we adjust our plans to fit His plans. Finding that His grace is always sufficient and sustaining.

   Besides, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not where the stockings are hung that’s important. It’s that families find ways to connect and celebrate in unison the traditions they hold dear. And for our family, stuffed Christmas stockings, with  our names monogrammed in gold puffy glue, accomplishes that!  No matter where  those stockings may be hung. 

Dreams, God covers the details!

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You Can’t Buy Happines but you can go to Scotland and that’s pretty much the same thing 

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 For many years I had a dream of traveling to Scotland. Can’t really explain why I became intrigued with that  extraordinary country. Maybe it had something to do with her breathtaking scenery

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or those happy clear water streams of the Highlands. Perhaps it was the appeal of quaint and misty isles that allows one to step back in time to a slower paced life. Possibly it is the lure of the castles, and the images they inspire of knights and jousts, lords and ladies, or kings and queens dressed in medieval array.

   I just know when listening to the captivating music of the kilted bagpipers something deep within my innermost being is stirred. I am at a lost to explain it. But bagpipe music and that lyrical Scottish brogue never fails to draw me in. 

   I did explore the possibility of Scottish roots using the DNA test. While it did not reveal a direct Scottish ancestor, my roots could be traced to the area of Ireland/United Kingdom. I felt I had a good reason to hope my roots could be traced to Scotland, albeit more likely Ireland. But I hold on to that small hope.

   But come Friday, I will travel to Scotland for my third time since 2016. My son and his family have lived there for the past 9 months while my son has been working on his master’s degree in linguistics. We will all return together in early June as his term of study is almost up. He will finish his dissertation in the States and return to the mission field in August. 

Stuart & family   wadsworths 8-15

   About 13 years ago, my dream led me to establish an e-pal relationship with a precious pastor’s wife, named Ruth, who like me had 4 children. We formed a sweet friendship. So when my son told me that he was considering studying at the University of Edinburgh, the dream of going to Scotland and seeing my friend face to face began to materialize.

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   Alas, a year before Bob and I, along with our son and his family, actually made it to the shores of Scotland, my dear friend passed away. But her legacy to me was two beautiful daughters that opened their home to us for a visit. My friendship with her blossomed into a friendship with her pastor-husband, an older missionary couple, and the family of a church member. 

   These new dear friends welcomed us to Scotland and went above and beyond in helping our son and daughter in law to get settled in Edinburgh. It would have been so much harder on them were it not for the support of these new friends.

   I wonder, did my dream of going to Scotland have more to do with God providing a support group for my missionary son when he arrived in Edinburgh? I think so, and He granted the fulfillment of a life long dream for me in the process. God covers the details!

Memories Made!

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     We have spent the last couple of weeks making memories; some planned, some not so planned. We welcomed our son and his precious family home for the first time in 4 1/2 years. My daughters, their husbands, and their children saw their brother’s sons (3 yrs and 1 yr) up close and personal for the first time in those 4 1/2 years. Tears, laughter, hugs, and quiet moments of catching up accented every moment they spent together. My 3 year old grandson and his cousins jumped right into the play as if they had always been together (there is a grand total of 10 now; an 11 year old girl, an 11 year old boy, a 10 year old girl, a 9 year old boy, an 8 year old girl, 2 seven year old girls, and a 4 year old girl).

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bobby cooking the pig

 

     We celebrated by my son, along with 2 of his brothers in law, and 2 family friends, (with a brief participation by my grandson) cooking a pig  in a pit in my backyard. The five of them stayed up all night tending to the cooking process.(and listen folks, with my son’s coaching-they did the slaughtering themselves)

     The next day a large group of family and friends gathered at the church my family attends to welcome my son and his family home and to enjoy the tasty bar b q, along with the traditional pot luck dishes they brought.

     For many years my father bar b q’d pigs for the church’s yearly homecoming. He had created a recipe for the sauce that he had passed along to my son a few years ago. Everywhere my son has traveled, he has prepared Papaw’s special sauce, so it has taken on international fame! Who knew!!

 

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I’ve seen my dad wearing that red apron as he pulled the bar  q on homecoming day at our church. I know my dad would have been proud to see his grandson carrying on a tradition he began so many years ago.

     My son’s welcome home get together was a huge success. Lots and lots of family and friends dropped by to enjoy the bar b q/potluck (carrying on a tradition that has taken place for years at my home church) and to greet my son, daughter in law, and grandsons. Can’t thank the ladies enough who helped me put this big ole party together. I was exhausted by the time it was over but my heart was light. My son and his family were home and oh how good that was!

 

CELEBRATING TOGETHER ACROSS THE MILES!

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I can see his face, I can hear his voice. I can be content with this!

I can see his face, I can hear his voice. I can be content with this!

   Thanks to current technology, our Christmas visit with our son was the highlight of our celebration! Living so far apart would lend itself to a severe disconnect if it wasn’t for the technology God has inspired and provided. Words fail me when attempting to express my gratefulness to God for this. But I bet you can imagine it!

Our son and his dad have always enjoyed a good talk. Something they still get to do.

Our son and his dad have always enjoyed a good talk. Something they still get to do.

   I have always loved to listen while these two guys are chatting with each other. It does my heart good to hear them discuss and share the events that are occurring in their lives. Their conversations are always spiced with laughter which helps to lift the burden that accompanies separation.

Together and sharing; a treasured moment. Brought a few tears.

Together and sharing; a treasured moment.–brought a few tears.

   Yes, he cried when he first started talking to his sisters and, of course, they followed suite. They finally were able to get to a lighter moment and the smiles and laughter ensued. Moments like these, my children making memories and enjoying being siblings, are the highlight of my days. 

 

Brother in laws have a lot in common; makes for the best of support.

Brother in laws have a lot in common; makes for the best of support.

   The guys got to have a rare together time. Even though it is rare and all to brief, the fact that they are eager to communicate whenever they can always makes for a celebration.

Shortly after this we got the phone call. They whipped around and went to yelling out hello's.

Shortly after this we got the phone call. They whipped around and went to yelling out hello’s.

 

   These young ones are learning a lot about praying as they faithfully pray for God’s ‘impenetrable protection’ (yep, that’s the words they use) around their uncle, aunt, and cousins. 

Together & Overwhelmed!

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DREAMLAND!
Who wouldn’t want to spend a week in such a place as this dreamy little cottage in Scotland!

   Back in August, my husband and I joined our son and his family in Scotland. It was the first time we had seen our 5 month old grandson in person and our 2 1/2 year old grandson we had only seen shortly after he was born. Our son is planning on attending a university there next year and needed to wrap up some details; thus the motivation for this trip.

   So for 2 weeks, we laughed together, ate together, talked (a lot) to each other, played together, absorbed the beauty of Scotland and her people and culture together, and enjoyed quiet moments together! The wonder of all that we enjoyed was that we enjoyed it ‘together’! Such bliss!

   The reality that we were together and living out a lifelong dream of mine to go to Scotland at times was more than my mind could take in!  It was as if I was living in a world of fantasy! I was simply and profoundly ‘overwhelmed’!  

Why do I share this?

   Because, if my son had not walked the path of obedience to God and had we not been willing to release him to that path, then none of what I wrote about just now would have ever taken place.

  Releasing our children to go and do God’s bidding is a challenge to our emotional stability but even more so when that bidding takes them far away from our presence. It wasn’t something I expected to happen and I found within my own strength no resources to handle it.

   Yet, here I am 4 years into this journey and I stand as living proof that there is life after releasing a child to do God’s bidding.

   All of us mom’s (and dad’s) who have taken the journey I have taken  know that it is not something that can be done in one’s own strength. 

 But know this!

   It is doable, and there’s sustaining joy and strength that accompanies the heartbreak of release! And on the other side of those painful moments we have the hope of knowing more joy than we could have ever imagined,

IF we,

look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always. Ps. 105:4

 

TOGETHERNESS!

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   Next year, my son and his family will be returning home for a few months prior to heading out of country again in order for my son to take graduate courses. But during this year and in about 3 1/2 months my husband and I will be joining up with them for a couple of weeks vacation in that same country. The first few days will be spent taking care of details having to do with registration, etc. The days after that will be all about making memories! 

 

HOW WILL I SPEND MY TIME?

 

   Holding and cuddling my 5 month old grandson for the very first time. Singing songs to him and playing games with him like I did with his daddy. Lending a hand in his care and feeding; allowing him moments to become accustomed to my face and the sound of my voice. 

   Playing with my 2 year old grandson. Reading books to him! Showing him pictures and telling him about his daddy’s family (his cousins, etc) back in the States. Doing as much running around and chasing after him as these grandmother’s physical limitations will allow. Singing him songs I use to sing to his daddy and teaching him some of the words. Learning some of the new songs and games he might want to teach me.

   Taking long leisurely walks with my son; talking about whatever comes to mind. He has ventured out in new directions since I saw him last. I am curious about his take on all of that. 

   Sitting on the side lines and listening to the thoughts and ideas my husband and son will share with each other. (One of my favorite past times when we are all together)

  Enjoying the interaction that transpires between my son, his wife, and their boys. Watching them being a family; filing those moments into my memory banks to keep them close to me after we have to part. 

   Having precious moments to focus on my daughter in law; exchanging thoughts and ideas, sharing the sights and sounds together. Her life’s experiences have expanded as well. I long to hear all about those. 

  Doing some real honest to goodness babysitting, while our son and daughter in law venture out to explore and experience the fascinations of the land we will be visiting. 

  Spending quiet moments absorbing God’s spectacular handiwork; recording in word and pictures all that I’m able so that I can share with those back home. 

  Seeing places with my own eyes, that until then had only been experienced in my dreams.

And all of this in the context of togetherness!

 

 

BACK TO THE BUSH: And a good ole country breakfast

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Journal Date:  3-10-13

   Yesterday a young couple, friends of my son and daughter in law, arrived at base camp to spend a few days.  They would be heading out to bush camp to teach some classes on health care, language, and culture. 

   Since this would likely be the last time I would enjoy the company of these good folks, I came up with the idea of fixing a good ole American country breakfast before they and we, the bush camp staff, headed out to camp later in the day. Here’s the menu we decided upon:

Scrambled Eggs

Bacon

Hasbrowns

Biscuits

Milk Gravy

Lots of good coffee

   Everyone, who was cooking, chose their dish to prepare. I chose to make the milk gravy that would be poured over biscuits made from scratch by another. Now, here we were, a group of Americans, mostly southern and bent toward country living and eating. We were in ‘hog’ heaven! 

   Though our environment looked nothing like the setting we associated with such a meal, the homey smell of bacon frying and homemade biscuits cooking, put us all in mind of gathering around the table in a country kitchen back home. The spice of conversation and fellowship completed the picture that Norman Rockwell would have delighted to paint. 

   It just goes to prove that no matter where you go, home is always with you, just waiting for moments like these to bring forth fragrances that will transport  you back to the place of your memories. Yet expanding those memories while blending the familiar with the unfamiliar, creating new scenes to be recalled in the future. 

   Though Africa is a long distance from my country kitchen back in the US, for a moment in time, I was in familiar surroundings. That good ole country breakfast just had that kind of an affect on me!

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