Thursday, October 30, 2008

Celebrations...

We are going to see this guy and his friends today... To celebrate this precious little guy's first birthday (which is on Saturday)...


His Daddy is home from Iraq, both sets of Grandparents will there too! In fact Grandma and Grandpa B have never been to the Disneyland, so it's going to be especially fun!

Happy Thursday! : )

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm obsessed with all things autumn...

How I wish this is how our street looked in autumn! This is actually a picture of my mom's street in Alabama. She tells me that those trees are now leaving a blanket of brown leaves on her lawn. I say, "Neat!" And she says, "Yeah, right!" : )

Nope, here in the desert, the temps are still in the mid 80's during the day--which is warm for us this time of year. Thankfully, the mornings are cool and crisp, so this is my favorite time of year to take a morning walk around the neighborhood.

It's also my favorite time of year to make oatmeal for my guys (and Ashleigh when she was home). In fact, there was a steaming pot ready for Rande and Zach when they got back from their mountain bike ride this morning. Such a simple thing, oatmeal. But oh, how it hits the spot!

And here's a little tip for leftover oatmeal: put the remaining oatmeal in a bread pan (or any rectangle shape container with deep sides) and place in the fridge overnight. The next morning make "slices" in the oatmeal--about 1/2 an inch thick or so, then dip the slices in the same type of egg mixture you would make for french toast (eggs, milk, cinnamon). Fry the slices on a hot griddle till they are golden brown, drizzle with maple syrup and eat up! So good!

Today I'm heading "down the hill" to our nearest big city to look for a foyer table and mirror. Our house is not big, which means our entryway is not big--but a table will look nice and a mirror will give depth and make the area appear larger. I've been looking for months--both online and at different stores, but finding the right size has been difficult (most tables are too big). Plus it has to be a good deal. I'm all about finding THE perfect deal! Just ask my family! : )

So I'm off! Hope y'all are having a great week so far.

Blessings!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Randomness

Jessica over at When Life Gives You Lemons recently tagged me to list six random things about myself. I think I did one of these when I first started blogging, so I'll try to list six different things. Shouldn't be hard since I can be pretty random. ; )

Here are the rules if you are interested in playing along:

1-post the rules
2-write 6 random things about yourself
3-tag 6 people at the end
4-taggers start with rule #1


So here's my randomness:

1. I tried sushi for the first time recently--and LOVED it!

2. When I was in my late teens (the 80's), people often said I looked like the actress Molly Ringwald (my hair was short and I had colored it this funky-cool red color).

3. I became a grandma for the first time at the ripe old age of 39.

4. People often think because Rande and I have only two children--a girl and a boy--that we were "through" having kids after Zach. The reality is we would have welcomed a whole slew of kids, but the Lord had a different plan for us.

5. I can whistle really well.

6. I love hanging out in bookstores and could stay there for hours (sometimes I do!).


See? I'm pretty random. : ) It's always so difficult for me to choose who to tag for these things, because in reality I would love to know more about any of you! So if you choose to play along, leave a comment letting me know and I'll be sure to go to your blog and see just how random you are.

Blessings!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday happenings and total cuteness...

How is your Monday going so far?

Do you like Mondays? I do! There is just something about the start of a new week--another beginning. After a busy weekend, I love the slower pace of Mondays. I can linger with the Lord a bit longer or make a big breakfast if Rande is home.

I love that it's the day when Zach and I go over the week's school schedule. Well, I usually love it. That is, if we've both stayed on top of what we are supposed to--me, correcting and grading his school work and Zach completing his assignments--then it's all good. : )

I enjoy this time because we almost always end up having some great discussions. This morning we were discussing the upcoming election because Zach wrote two papers recently: one summarizing Proposition 8 (The California Marriage Protection Amendment) and the other regarding our right to vote. Both papers were so good! It makes such difference when you write about a topic you care about and it really showed in Zach's papers that he cares about both of these issues. He is very bummed that he will be missing the opportunity to vote in this election by 17 days. And regarding Prop. 8--I like what my friend Patty at Beside Still Waters said:

Californians..Please vote Yes, on Proposition 8. Please pray for us on November 4...your state could be next.


These are interesting times, aren't they? I'm so thankful that no matter what happens next week, the Lord is still on THE throne!

Anyway, now on to a more light-hearted and fun subject. : ) On Saturday morning, as I was getting ready, our little cutie-pie Troy was in and out of the bedroom. I had no idea he was paying attention to anything I was doing. Turns out he was. And he decided (when Grammie wasn't looking) that he wanted to be like Grammie and put lotion on his face. Lots of lotion.

Isn't he just too much?! You can probably tell by my last post and this one, that my oldest grandson keeps me hoppin'! Ahh, he is so much like his mother, yes he is!

Happy Monday and blessings to you all!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Conversations with Mrs. Butterworth

It all started with our traditional pancake breakfast. Troy knows that when he comes to stay the night at Grammie's house, she will make him pancakes. : )

As I began mixing the pancake batter, Troy climbed up on a stool to watch and help. He took over mixing duties as the griddle was heating up and I got out the pancake fixin's--butter and syrup.


Next thing I know, Troy says, "Hey! She's a girl!"

"Yes she is." I tell him. And a backward one at that! : )

"What's hers name?" He asks.

"Mrs. Butterworth."

"Ohhh! Hi Mrs. Butterwurff!" says the sweetest little voice I know.


And so began a conversation with Mrs. Butterworth. As I poured pancake batter on the sizzling hot griddle, my little grandson talked to his new friend.



The conversation continued at the table, where Troy tried to talk her into sitting next to him.


But Mrs. Butterworth was content to keep her place in front of him.


When Zach joined Troy and Mrs. Butterworth at the table, Troy began telling Zach about his new friend and then asked,

"But where is Mr. Butterwurff?"

Zach and I were cracking up! Good question! Where is that Mr. Butterworth anyway?

Good times. Yes indeed-y! : )

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Guess who I get to see today?

Three of my most favorite people in the whole wide world!


Ashleigh, Troy and Merritt--Mammoth, CA

Oh, Happy Day!! : )




**And a BIG Happy Birthday to my niece Tiffany (
Mrs. Creative)!! Love you!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Teaching an old dog new tricks

Ok. So Zach said this was not a good title for this post. He said I wasn't an old dog. Such a sweet boy, that kid!

But let me tell you--sometimes I feel old. Like today.

Rande and I were busy for most of the day, plowing through the plastic bins in the garage (stuff we still have stored since our remodel). It's such an ordeal, honestly. What do we get rid of? What do we keep? This went on for most of the day.

We were going to have a garage sale sometime this fall, but time is getting away from us and we have to get rid of all this stuff. So we decided to give it to our local Boys and Girls Club thrift store. Rande took a car (actually Jeep) load in the later afternoon, while I stayed behind to go through more boxes. Or so he thought. : )

Zach had a violin student cancel their lesson today (he teaches on Tuesdays) and he decided to use the time to get in some practice time for himself. On my way back out to the garage, I stopped to listen to him and decided to pick up my very neglected upright bass that my sweet husband bought me, but have yet learned to play. For the next 30 minutes Zach tried to teach me a thing or two...
Notice the intense concentration going on. : ) For someone with no experience playing an instrument, it's harder than I thought.

Zach was ever so patient. We went over the same exercises again and again....and again!

And here he is laughing at me! He'd say he wasn't laughing at me, but laughing with me. I was actually laughing too. It was pretty funny as I kept messing up. Eventually I got it, but not until the end of our 30 minute lesson.

We agreed to meet again tomorrow to see if I can remember anything from today. I don't know though...because you know what they say about teaching an old dog new tricks. : )


For the love of Christ constraineth us.
2 Corinthians 5:14

"Love should give wings to the feet of service, and strength to the arms of labour. Fixed on God with a constancy that is not to be shaken, resolute to honour him with a determination that is not to be turned aside, and pressing on with an ardour never to be wearied, let us manifest the constraints of love to Jesus."



Taken from Morning and Evening by C.H. Spurgeon. To read the devotional in it's entirety, go
here.

**Photo: Athens, AL

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend Haps...

Did y'all have a good weekend? I hope so!

The women's retreat was so good. Probably the best I've ever attended. The Lord really spoke to my heart about expectations. Good stuff. But more on that later.

Yesterday our church celebrated it's 45 year anniversary and what a great day it was! Good messages, good fellowship and good food. It was a continuation of the blessings the Lord was bestowing all weekend!

And today? Today we will be hanging out in the O.C. (Orange County) while Zach is at Disneyland with friends from Washington. It'll kinda be like a date-day for Rande and I--since we've hardly seen each other in a week! We're going take a walk on the beach, look for some furniture pieces we need for the house, go out to eat and just enjoy being together.

Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

On the road again...

Didn't I just get home?

Yes. Yes I did. On Saturday.

But now my suitcase it packed again and I'm heading off to Camp Ironwood for the annual women's retreat with the ladies from our church.

It's was a little hard dragging the suitcase out again and the fact that Rande has been at work since Tuesday and I won't see him until Sunday morning. ::sniff::

But it will be good and I am looking forward to a great speaker (Mina Oglesby) and the special fellowship with my sisters-in-Christ.

So I'm off! Have a wonderful weekend and blessings to you all! : )

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nashville Pics

Here are more than a few pictures from our trip to Nashville. What a great time we had! I realize not everyone likes bluegrass music. And that's ok...I'll still be your friend. : ) But if you do--enjoy!



The International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass is held in Nashville each year. The weeks starts off with a business conference for those in the music bizz and ends with what is called FanFest--which is for people like us. : )


Zach and friends, Sean and John--on the way to the IBMA Music Awards show--Music Row, downtown Nashville.


The awards show was held at the historic Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville.

Dailey and Vincent--These guys were amazing! Their CD is my favorite right now and I could listen to it over and over (actually, I am listening to it over and over!). They were up for 10 awards and it's no wonder. We also appreciated their testimony for the Lord.


Andy Leftwich--He actually plays fiddle for Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, but he can rip on the mandolin too. Zach met Andy one year when he was an instructor at the fiddle camp Zach attends each summer. What a nice guy Andy is! He's been a big influence on Zach both as a musician and as a Christian.
Andy playing with his "other" group--Three Ring Circle--with Dave Pomeroy on bass and Rob Ickes on dobro.



Another favorite bluegrass gospel group--Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver.


This is my good friend Stacey's son--Christian. He is a phenomenal young fiddler and we were so proud to see him playing on the BIG stage with Sierra Hull's band. Christian is going to be one of those that I'll be able to say, "I knew you when...." It's been exciting to see how the Lord has used that amazing talent of his.


There is always something going on at almost all hours during IBMA--concerts, band showcases, jamming, workshops, looking through exhibit hall--even a fiddle contest. We sat in on the Grand Masters Fiddle Championship. This is one of the most prestigious titles a fiddler can win.


What?! Where did these two crazy people come from? Peace out, man! : )




Taking a walk around downtown Nashville--The historic Ryman Auditorium.

Isn't the architecture beautiful? The Ryman was built in 1892. If you are ever in Nashville, you have to go to the Ryman.

Zach and his friend Sean. These two were nearly inseparable during IBMA. It's neat how Zach has his "bluegrass friends"--those that he sees only at bluegrass events because everyone lives all over the country.

Jack's BBQ on Broadway, downtown Nashville. I'm telling ya'--it's all about the food.


Beautiful old buildings...

One of the views from our hotel room (on the 20th floor!). I have no idea what this is, but I'm assuming it's a church.



These two pictures were not staged. That's Zach's friend John, above--another amazing young fiddler that I'm counting on to give me back-stage passes when he's famous. ; )

But this is what happens when you stay up until the wee hours of the morning listening and playing music for 4 days. I would usually pooter out about 2am, but Rande and Zach would get to bed about 4am-ish. Aren't they crazy? And all this craziness happens right there in the hotel. So they aren't like, you know, roaming around downtown Nashville at all hours doing who-knows-what. No, they are just walking around the hotel--immersing themselves in everything bluegrass. It really is a lot of fun!
Anyway, on Sunday morning we went to church and then met up with John's family for lunch before they flew back to San Diego and we drove to Alabama to see my mom. Poor John and Zach were so tired they could hardly eat.

So that was our trip to Nashville and IBMA 2008. Next stop--Athens, Alabama.

I'll give you one guess as to who did the driving. : )

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday happenings...

autumn rain--athens, alabama

How's your Monday going so far? It's crazy busy here in my neck of the woods. Actually, we don't have any wooded areas around here. Just a bunch of Joshua Trees and sagebrush. : )

We made it home from Alabama and have been going like gangbusters ever since. As soon as I got in the door Saturday afternoon from our flight home, I had a few church-related phone calls to make. Then I was off to the store to pick up some groceries and the ingredients for the lemon bars I needed to make for church the next day. I came home, made dinner, unpacked my suitcase, made the lemon bars, talked to Ashleigh, finally ate dinner (because Ashleigh and I rarely have a short phone conversation) and passed out from sheer exhaustion about 9:30pm.

Sunday we had to be at church early because Zach was doing the special music for both morning services. And it was so good to be in our own church. Not that I don't enjoy visiting other churches, because I do. But there is just something special about our church and we miss it when we are gone.

I'll be honest though--by the time the evening service rolled around, I was so tired my eyes were burning and I had a headache (no time for an afternoon nap). I thought I might just stay home. Rande wasn't going to be able to make it because he had come down with a cold Saturday night. But Zach was already at church because of choir practice and I really didn't want him to sit alone. So I went. And I'm glad I did. Not only did I get to hear a great message, I was also encouraged by the testimony of a young man from Shepherds Ministries (a ministry for those with developmental disabilities and their families). Shaun got up and shared how he came to know Jesus Christ as his Savior and then recited his favorite scriptures. He was such an encouragement and blessing! And you know what? By the time the service was over, my headache was gone. : )

Now the suitcases are all unpacked and put away, which means the washer and dryer have been going non-stop today. Rande's cold is pretty bad, so homemade chicken noodle soup is on the menu tonight.

Zach has a youth group meeting to go to later this afternoon and then orchestra practice tonight. He's busy trying to get his school work completed before the youth group meeting. He's got two tests and a physics lab to make-up, plus his regular assignments to complete. (Yikes! I'd rather be doing laundry any day!) I'm not sure he's going to get it all done before 3:00pm though. I have a feeling it's going to be a late night for him.

So that's the haps around here! I hope y'all are having a great Monday!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

So here's the story

People often assume that because my mom lives in the same little Alabama town she grew up in, that I must have lived in Alabama at some point.

Nope. I'm sad to say I've never lived here. I was born and raised in California.

My mom was born in Nashville and then moved to Alabama after her mother died when my mom was only six years old. Mom had two older sisters and the girls were split up and raised by different relatives. (Sad, I know.)

After her graduation from high school, Mom worked in Huntsville, AL where she met my dad--a dashing young aeronautical engineer from California--while he was in Alabama for business. They went on three dates and within a week decided to get married. Isn't that wild?!

Anyway--my dad went back to California and Mom joined him six months later when they got married. At the time my mom was more than thrilled to leave her little Alabama town behind her, in hopes of a more exciting and glamorous life in California.

I don't think my mom would describe her life in California as exciting or glamorous (although in pictures it might look like that). My parents were married for 21 years before they divorced. (Ridiculous, isn't it? They both agreed in later years that after being married for that long, they should have tried harder to save their marriage.)

As you can imagine, life after the divorce was hard. Relationships with relatives and friends in Alabama had become strained over the years, so going back was not an option. My mom chose to stay in California and go it alone.

Years went by...and in 1996 my mom received news that her sister's husband was very ill. When he passed away a short time later, my mom felt she should fly to Alabama to be with her family. There had been a lot of hurt feelings over the years and lack of communication--on both sides--and my mom believed it was time to start mending those relationships before it was too late.

So two days later Mom and I boarded a plane to Alabama. I had not seen any of my relatives on my mom's side of the family in twenty years. Twenty years. It was overwhelming to say the least. And emotional. But it was wonderful.

And all those hurt feelings, differences, ect...? Suddenly they didn't seem so important anymore. It was an amazing thing for me to stand back and witness relationships being restored and mended. Totally God's grace and goodness.

That trip back in 1996 was the beginning of many trips to Alabama. I was ecstatic to be in contact again with my Alabama family. I'm an only child and was the only grandchild on my dad's side--so I had no cousins around when I was growing up. And family gatherings on my dad side were pretty few and far between. I was so happy for Rande, Ashleigh and Zach to finally meet family on my side. (Rande has a huge family that we are close to--lots of cousins on that side! ::smile::)

In the spring of 2001, after much prayer, my mom made the HUGE decision to move back to her hometown after living in California for 46 years. She bought a beautiful home just two streets over from her sister and it's been a blessing to be able to come here as often as we do. When mom moved to Athens, Rande and I seriously considered moving too--but there was the small issue of you know, HIS JOB, that hindered us.

So that's the story. I've never lived in Alabama. I truly wish I had. I wish I did right now. I love it here. But you already know that, don't you? : )

Rande and Zach drove back up to Tennessee the other day to look at a college Zach is interested in attending. We are praying about it and we'll see what happens. But one of us just might make it out here after all.

Until then, we'll just keep coming back to visit.

Happy Friday to you from Alabama! (We head back home to CA tomorrow. ::sniff::)

**Autumn rain--Athens, AL

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tennessee and Alabama...how I do love you!

I love your gracious and hospitable people.

I love your sweet tea, BBQ and Blue Bell ice cream (especially Banana Pudding flavor).

I love your beautiful rolling hills along the I-65. What a sight! Especially this time of year, when the trees are turning all sorts of gorgeous shades of orange and yellow.

I love your taste in music.

I love how your people really know how to decorate their porches for the seasons/holidays.

I love your clean freeways.

I love your Cracker Barrels.

I love your town squares.

I love how even though we're from California, your people still love us. : )

There is much to love about you, Tennessee and Alabama! My list could go on and on...



It's so good to be here. We're having a wonderful time...can you tell?