Category Archives: Grandparents

A New Hip & Sweet Family

Modern medicine is amazing. Truly, how is it possible that doctors are able to completely replace a person’s knee or hip? I am scared to look online, but I’m sure there are videos that show exactly how the procedure is done. I’ll just be grateful and ignorant of the actual details.

Needless to say, Sarah and I are so honored and privileged to have the opportunity to come to Michigan to care for my mom (or Mamie as we call her) as she recovers from her total hip replacement.

Walker & tray

This walker was a godsend the first week.

Our first few days here were spent enjoying Aunt Kate, Mamie’s IDENTICAL twin sister. I have to emphasize the word identical because, for their growing up years the sisters thought they were fraternal twins. The rest of us were convinced they had to be identical. It only takes a few minutes spent with them, a glance at their picture, or the chance to overhear them talk and giggle, to be CERTAIN they have to be identical twins. It wasn’t until this last year that they finally did a DNA test (courtesy of Aunt Stephanie, their big sister), that they discovered they were identical. Nothing has changed, they love each other as dearly and fiercely as before, but there was much rejoicing in finding out they were IDTs (our new term for the twins).

Twins with their babies

Twins with their babies

My brother Thom and my cousin Alex (born in the same year) called each other Twin Cousins when they were younger. I’m still a wee bit upset that I never had twins.

Years ago - sweet twins!

Years ago – sweet twins!

The first week here in Michigan was especially precious as my family adores Aunt Kate and loves having time with her. We were sorry for Mamie’s pain and the reason for our visit, but delighted to get some days together with the IDTs. Sadly we missed being with Aunt Stephanie, she left the day before we arrived.

My mom’s beautiful relationship with her family – her parents and siblings – has been a true blessing to me over the years. I have observed how they love each other from afar (we grew up in Michigan, my mom’s sisters are in Minnesota and my grandmother retired to a home in Texas), how they support and encourage one another, and come alongside during the good and bad times, the easy days and the difficult ones.

Mom quickly became a pro at the walker.

Mom quickly became a pro at the walker.

It has been a richness of family and history that I have surely taken for granted. When my grandmother was living, we would travel with my parents to see her every year (bringing along a passel of noisy, exuberant great-grandchildren). We have been incredibly spoiled over the years by my aunts and uncles. My children have been blessed with trips overseas and college assistance by my Aunt Stephanie. We have been loved and prayed over with an abundance of grace.

Rachel and Tahlia with Aunt Stephanie

Rachel and Tahlia with Aunt Stephanie

Love being with family here in Michigan. Sarah is a sweet companion.

Love you, pretty girl!

Love you, pretty girl!

We do school, bring Mamie ice packs and chocolate (depending on the needs of the moment), watch Hallmark movies and cooking shows, go online for TPS classes, join Mamie in her hip exercises, and relax. It’s been a unique and special time.

Project 365 – October 12th and October 14th
Kathy

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Michigan Family Time

Sarah and I are in Michigan to enjoy some time with my mom as she recovers from her hip replacement. The surgery “just happened” to coincide with a dear friend’s wedding. I was already planning on coming to Michigan in October to attend the wedding, spend time with my mom, and see Joshua and Kelsie. Joshua was the best man in the wedding – he and Kelsie drove up from Tennessee to be here over fall break.

A few minutes of relaxing before rushing to the next thing.

A few minutes of relaxing before rushing to the next thing.

When Mom’s surgery was scheduled for the end of September, it worked out beautifully for my aunt to come for the first week of recovery time, and then Sarah and I to come for the next two weeks. So many sweet things came together – we got to see my mom’s twin sister, we had time with Joshua and Kelsie, we got some relaxed, intentional time with Kelsie (my beautiful future daughter in law), we were able to attend David and Christianne’s wedding, we shopped for wedding outfits, we pampered Mamie, and then we had time with my brother and his youngest daughter.

Sarah gets some loving from Aunt Kate!

Sarah gets some loving from Aunt Kate!

Wow!

Not sure why I haven’t been blogging all of this. Just know there has been joy. There have been some tears. There has been a lot of reminiscing and talk of my beloved (and SORELY missed) dad. There have been even more giggles. Quite a bit of ice cream and other delicious food. Sweet discussions on faith and life. Quiet moments of Bible study. Painful stretching and hip exercises (we ALL do them with Mamie). Other silly video workouts. Good chocolate. Visits with Mamie’s INCREDIBLE friends. And more.

It was hard being gone for Tim’s birthday, but we managed to celebrate him here in Michigan.

We missed being with Tim on his birthday.

We missed being with Tim on his birthday.

We love you, Tim!!  Happy Birthday.

We love you, Tim!! Happy Birthday.

And he was obviously thoroughly spoiled on his birthday back in Washington. We are a blessed and loved family! A huge thankful to all of our friends for stepping in and partying with Tim in my absence.

Tim and David have been surviving just fine without us (somehow). Hopefully they haven’t been spoiled so much by my sweet friends that they don’t regret us returning home on Tuesday.

Kathy – more to follow
Project 365 – October 7th & October 8th

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Flowers and a Green Thumb

My dad loved gardening. He was constantly planting new varieties of vegetables or exploring different ways to tackle the animals who seemed bent on getting into his garden. Flowers were another one of his delights. One year he came for a visit, and we filled every possible pot or container we could find with flowers. It was beautiful.

Today my in-laws swept Sarah and me off on a little adventure. My mother-in-law shares my father’s love for gardening. Her landscaping creations are stunning – bursts of color, winding paths of beauty, and places (some hidden and delicate, others spacious and vast) to breathe in deeply and relax.

“It’s a late Mother’s Day gift,” my mother-in-law smiled as we piled into the minivan and headed down the road. “I don’t often get to treat you.”

Awaiting a new home.

What could be prettier than fresh plants.

We arrived at our destination – Watsons Nursery – and spent the next hour wandering among the aisles. We picked out perennials for the front yard – Daniel gave me a Mother’s Day gift card of yard work, planting and the purchase of fresh bark. Then we selected a beautiful mix of annuals for the large barrel by the front porch.

“I know you must have some of your dad’s green thumb,” my mother-in-law stated hopefully.

“Um,” I stammered, “we can only hope.”

Actually, my hope is pretty much on Tim, Sarah and Rachel. Although he favors tomato plants and a vegetable garden over flowers, Tim has inherited some of his mother’s love and talent for gardening. Or maybe he just picked up a few tips and tricks over the years of being dragged into various landscape projects. He and Rachel planted several flower boxes for me last week. And Sarah is my faithful watering girl. So, I think I have things covered.

Planting things today!

Planting things today!

Not wanting to miss the chance, I begged Tim to help me plant the flowers tonight after our walk. They look so beautiful!! I am already thrilled at our flowering barrel. I can’t wait to get Daniel to finish digging up my front area. Oh, and Tim has a fantastic idea for using some stones he bought to surround the barrel and add some plants around it.

“Mom, you have so many flowers this year,” Rachel admired when she came up the walk way this evening.
“Why yes, I do,” I hugged her, “it’s beautiful isn’t it.”

Project 365 – Day 154
Kathy

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He is Risen, Indeed!

We spent most of the day at The Refuge, visiting my parents. Daniel got up and went to the early service, and then David and Sarah volunteered at church during the middle service. (This was in response to the “Sit One, Serve One” initiative — our church had five Easter services, two on Saturday evening, and three today).

Kathy and I stayed home, having been to one of the services last night. Kathy had a bunch of food items she wanted to contribute to the feast, so we spent a couple of hours assembling those dishes. Then off to the Duckabush!

Arriving at the Duckabush, this was the sight that greeted us at the top of the driveway.

Arriving at the Duckabush, this was the sight that greeted us at the top of the driveway.

We had a lovely visit — feasted on ham and lamb and a host of other things. We chatted with my folks, helped them get their new cellphone set up, and even had time to film some of David’s student government commercial. It was sad not to have Joshua and Rachel with us, but I hear that they spent time with Aunt Liz and the cousins, so they were not neglected.

Mom made her traditional lamb cake for dessert, which was warmly appreciated.

Mom made her traditional lamb cake for dessert, which was warmly appreciated.

Now we’re home again, and the new week starts tomorrow — back to work, back to school, back to regular life.

At lunch, my Dad asked this question: “What difference does it make to you, that Jesus rose again from the dead?”

We spent quite a bit of time talking and thinking about that. I guess it is no surprise, that one of the not-so-secret code phrases that Christians around the world exchange at Easter is:

“He is Risen!”

“He is Risen, indeed!”

If Jesus did not rise, then we would have no assurance of being resurrected ourselves. We would not know that God had accepted Jesus’ death on the cross as payment-in-full for our sins. We would presumably have no relationship with God, and no reason for hope.

But He is risen, indeed. So everything is different.

Project 365, Day 95
Tim

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Grandad and Hot Cocoa

Today is my dad’s birthday. It has been bittersweet to think of him throughout the day, to look at pictures, talk about him with the kids and on Facebook, and hear others share memories of him. I am continually amazed that it has been almost four years since he left us and went to heaven. I am incredibly proud of him. I am thankful of the godly heritage he left me. And I am full of joyful hope that we will see each other again one day.

Looking over the blog (we’ve been writing off and on since 2004), I found that I had posted a birthday hello to Grandad in 2007 (Joshua – look, it’s your cell phone! From 2007! Impressive). I also wrote something in 2008.

Sigh.

Loss – it pierces with the realization that we must hold lightly to things in this life at the same time savor every moment with abandonment. Such a strange paradox. We get lost in the minutia and the mundane, but it is exactly those things that weave together the most glorious tapestry of relationships, love and LIFE.

Amidst this rather busy, gray day, the kids decided some hot cocoa would be a nice treat. As for me, I skip the chocolatey stuff and stick to coffee.

Pretty girl and her hot cocoa

My sweet girl and her hot cocoa

The hot cocoa tins from Costco are a regular stocking stuffer in our house so, during the month of January, there’s usually plenty of hot chocolate to go around.

Daniel says NO to marshmallows and YES to whipped cream on his hot cocoa.

Daniel says NO to marshmallows and YES to whipped cream on his hot cocoa.

When even the hot cocoa can’t cheer away the fog and gray skies, there are always plenty of candles to brighten the room. Strangely enough I can always find a child willing to get out the matches and light the candles for me.

Careful, David!

Careful, David!

When the week (or is it a month?) of sunLESS days continues on, I pause, breathe deeply, close my eyes and savor the memories of the incredibly GORGEOUS Washington summer we had this year.

Sarah and some beautiful island girls!!

Sarah and some beautiful island girls!!

Hot cocoa, memories of Grandad, pictures of beach days, and the knowledge that my happiness and hope rests in Jesus.

“And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Project 365 – Day 12
Kathy

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