Friday, September 28, 2007

What are you reading, Tooz?

Here's a quote from a book that I'm reading on-line, a little bit a day. It kind of goes along with my Friendship post from yesterday:

Solomon continued his pursuit. And then later, in the book of
Proverbs, he writes a concluding thought: "What a person desires is unfailing love" (Prov. 19:22 TNIV). And don't you sense that is true? Don't you agree that the thing we're all seeking is an unfailing love to fill up the hole in our heart? IDENTITY THEFT Reclaiming Who God Created You to Be
by Mike Breaux

I found this great book in the Zondervan Breakfast Club, which is coming to my house every morning, Monday through Friday, by email. Identity Theft isn't in the stores yet, it won't be out until October, and I've only had a chance to read the first chapter. But I've already found it a blessing, a book that speaks to my needs (see Goal post, others on that line).

Some of you may wonder who Solomon is. Solomon was the son of King David, one of Israel's greatest kings, "a man after God's own heart". Solomon was given an opportunity by God to ask for any gift that he desired, riches, fame, whatever. His choice? Wisdom. Since he was to be king, he figured he needed wisdom to make wise decisions regarding his people and his country. Because he didn't ask for riches, God also blessed him with abundant wealth.

Solomon is responsible for three great books of the Bible, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. Proverbs is full of great one-liners, truths you can live by from day to day. There is no real story there, just these continuing bits of wisdom. It much resembles the teachings of Confucius.

Ecclesiastes tells of man's search for happiness. The author tells of looking all over the world for things that will make him happy and comes to the conclusion that there is nothing new under the sun. How often have we older folks seen this, as fads cycle through our lifetimes! The author realizes he has a God-shaped hole in his heart, and until that hole is filled, he will never find happiness.

Song of Solomon is a love story, maybe the second greatest love story ever written. Many Christian couples have read the book together early in their marriages and have found it a great inspiration. If you're wondering why I said the second greatest love story, it's because I firmly believe the greatest love story is the one expressed in John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

If you've stuck with me this far and are interested in any of this, just let me know in the comments and I'll get in touch with you. Love to all, and God bless.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Friendship, we've got friendship...

It was another great morning. Someone asked how many there were in the toddler room today. I replied 100. (Actually, it was more like 10, but it seemed more like 100.) Bed babies had a full house, too. It was great, great, great.

We had a couple of cute little Egyptian children today, "Ramses" and "Cleopatra". (I hope I don't need to tell you that those are NOT their real names.) They were first-timers. Ramses is around 2, maybe 2.5, and Cleo is close to, if not already, a year. Their mom was insistent that they be kept together, not separated. Ram wreaked havoc in the infant's room while his sister Cleo threw a tantrum fully befitting her royal name. I moved across the hall with the two in tow, into the toddler room (which was in the midst of the "Mommy's gone--I'm scared and mad" crying fit).

Cleo kept up her tantrum for almost the entire two hours she was with us. She did let me rock her, though, and she settled down somewhat when I put her in a stroller and pushed her around a little. Ram enjoyed the toys in the room and showed the typical Middle Eastern mathematical superiority as he recognized and named the shapes before putting them into the "shape-it" ball. He also let the women in the room know that HE didn't have to do what they told him to do, he was above their rule. I've seen this before with little guys like him--it always amuses me. However, he did consent to "fix" the slide after he turned it over--I told him, "Ram, fix it." He attempted to stare me down, but after he found out that was impossible, he turned the slide right-side up again.

What really touched me and meant so much to me this morning was his mama's attitude when she came back to pick the children up. She was without a doubt, one of the most precious women I have met in my two years of Friendship. She truly seemed so thankful to us for taking care of her children. She thanked me over and over. She asked if Cleo had cried all morning. I truthfully told her yes, but that she seemed to be more angry than sad. Then she asked me what she could do next week. I told her to come back and bring her children back. She seemed surprised that we would keep Cleo with all her crying. I told her we LOVED the children, that it was all right with us if they cried. We tried to help them stop crying and be content, but we would NOT stop keeping them just because of their tears. I asked her (Mama) if she had fun this morning. She replied that yes, she had. I then asked her if she had learned any English--I saw that she had signed up for the ESL class--and she replied yes, lots. Then I told her that absolutely she should bring the children back, that (I repeated) we loved them and we were glad that we could take care of them for her. I do not think I have ever seen a more grateful person in my life. Her attitude and amazement at our love for her children made every snotty tissue, every strained muscle, worth while.

One thing about Friendship: it's a ministry. It becomes awkward at times to try to communicate the love of Jesus to these folks, when we've been told explicitly not to mention church or religious subjects to them. It was all I could do to keep from telling Mama today that when we show love to her and her children, we are doing what God does for her--that He loves her, even when she is crying and doing the things that should be making Him unhappy with her. He never abandons her, He never stops loving her. We can't tell her, so I guess we'll just have to keep showing her how much God loves her by the way we care for her children. What a wonderful experience, to be a part of this ministry.

Good night to all, and God bless.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Silver Sneakers news

We won't be having class this week because our teacher is attending a conference in Indianapolis. If we were, I seriously considered setting up a "memorial chair" in the room on Wednesday in memory of one of our members.

We had been missing Mrs P in class the last week. She was a dear, dear lady who attempted to keep up with all we did, working so very hard. She had just "graduated" from the pink weights (1 lb barbells) to the purple ones (2 lb), and she was so proud of her accomplishment. Another feat that made her rightfully proud was that she could do our "squats" (go from a sitting to a standing position) without holding on to anything! That might not seem much to you, but for an 87-year-old woman who walked with a cane, it was a true feat!

We questioned our teacher about Mrs P--had she been at Cardome when he taught out there? He wasn't sure, but he thought he remembered seeing her. I knew she was a little bit "down" since her daughter had moved out of state, so I figured we'd just give her a few days to perk up and come back with us.

Monday, when I was doing a volunteer stint at the hospital, I saw a woman with the same name listed as a patient. Then while doing rounds with the beverage cart, I spied the out-of-state daughter in the ICU waiting room. I asked her if that was her mom's name on the list--yes, it was, and Mom had just died, not ten minutes before I came by.

I sat with daughter for a while and expressed my sympathy, all those little phrases like sweet, sweet woman, beautiful spirit, loving heart...Daughter said Mama had only been in the hospital for a few days, that she had fallen at her home and broken some bones and then just didn't recover. The family had been able to gather around her, give her love and support, express their last words...Sometimes deaths can be very beautiful home-goings.

Silver Sneakers has lost one of their true sweethearts.

Monday, September 24, 2007

My "Aha!" for the day

I was sitting here bemoaning my lack of direction in life, just being retired, nothing to do, no goals to work toward, and this verse came to me.

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (KJV)

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Bible, this verse was written by the apostle Paul. He lived a life with very little reason for contentment, as far as man can see--imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked, chased out of town, continually moving from place to place...Yet he did his best to spread God's love to the folks he met, either through preaching or writing to them, but most of all by living a life of contentment.

So now my goal is to become content in whatsoever state I am. Kentucky is easy--retirement takes a little more effort. Love to all, and God bless

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Today at breakfast, David and I were discussing goals. It all started out with a little talk about our basketball players (Big Blue, UK all the way), and in particular, Randolph Morris. Randolph Morris quit UK early to go pro, but he took a summer school course this summer. He said that if he had not gone pro, he would have graduated on time with a history major and high school teaching certification. Can you imagine having Randolph Morris for your high school history teacher? Anyway, I thought it was very interesting that he had that goal, to be a teacher, and was still pursuing it, even as an NBA player.

What were/are your goals? What do you want to be when you grow up? I am still undecided, toying between being a missionary doctor in Africa and a professional ballerina. Unfortunately, I'm not moving toward either goal right now. How about you?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday Fitness Tip

I made it to the gym today for another water aerobics class. I do love those things! Today, I felt a lot stronger after I got out of the pool (wasn't crashing in to stuff in the locker room) than I did on Tuesday, so I stuck around for the 11 Silver Sneakers' class. That is such a fun class, because Chris (the teacher) is such a great target! (That's what happens when you get all those women old enough to be the mama in a class with a young, single man.)

We love to tease him about his dates (or lack there of). Last Friday he made the HUGE mistake of telling us he had a blind double date that night. Of course, we gave him NO peace on Wednesday until he revealed some of the details of the outing. Poor guy, when he is embarrassed, he blushes, and since he has a shaved head, we can all tell. I don't think it was a huge success, though, because today when I asked him how the date had gone, he said, "Let's just say it was nothing to write home about."

So NOW we are teasing him about going to a convention next week in Indianapolis. We were disappointed that he wouldn't tell us where he would be staying--one of the "mama's" suggested we ought to show up there next Wednesday, in our work-out gear! That's right, no classes next Wednesday or Friday. I know what that's going to mean--we are going to be absolutely exhausted when classes resume the next week. (Sort of like I am today--David found me sleeping on the couch when he came in from work.)

Love to all, and God bless.

PS: Dummy that I am, I just realized I forgot to leave a tip! (Just like in a restaurant) Here's my tip--shop around until you find a fitness class that you truly enjoy. Then it won't be such a chore to go!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

If it's Thursday, it must be Friendship!

Thursday it is, and Friendship it was! Today found us with four workers and five babies--wait, it seemed like more than that. Chatty Cathy and I spent the morning "bonding", once she realized her mama wasn't coming back right away. Also in attendance were the Emperor Toshinana, Jackie Chan, Manaca previously known as Hannah (wrong name on her back, right name on her diaper bag), and the new guy, that I've decided I'll name Ishbull (forgot his real name already--I did remember it. I think I'll just leave it Ishbull for now.). Once again, we had a blast, although there were moments, mind you, when some of our charges were unhappy.

Across the hall, the toddlers spent the better part of the morning letting their workers know that they were, as the baby dinosaur used to say, "NOT the mama!" A couple of the little ladies ended up taking many a stroller ride, up and down the hallway, while the kids who weren't crying decided to have snack twice, once on schedule, and once because Miss Muffet got hungry again. The "board meeting" must have run a little long the second time, because Alistair just conked out on the table. He was still asleep when his mama showed up to pick him up. Like I said once before, if my smart kids would ever show me how to do it, I'd post a picture of Alistair for you!

I hope you're enjoying your week, too. Love to all, and God bless.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Granny's Stuff

This was one of the rare days recently when I had no commitments. You would think once a person retired, that would be the case everyday, but not so--tomorrow, for instance, I have three things on my calendar already, with a fourth "possible". Anyway, while I was downstairs doing laundry, I had the urge to start going through some of the boxes of "stuff" that are stored down there.

What did I find? a person might ask, especially if they cared. Well, I found a cathedral window quilt kit, numerous squares completed, extra fabric ready to be made into squares...Of course, I have no idea how to do that, but I guess I could learn. I found squares of polyester fabric pinned together, possibly in the process of becoming another quilt...I found well-worn cookie sheets, cake pans, a cooling rack that I grabbed, a nice-looking mixer that I set aside, an angel-food cake pan (I held on to that, too)...

In a plastic sack, I found a refrigerator door's worth of magnets, from Canada to Monticello, Branson to Dollywood, patriotic, Easter, Christmas, handcrafted, purchased at craft fairs...What to do with them? I have a refrigerator door (plus the two visible sides) with more than enough magnets now! I will probably give the one that says "Ann" to my little Sasquatch for HER refrigerator and allow her sister to go through and pick one of her own. Then I'll just stick the others back into the bag and tuck them away, I guess--it's too hard to throw them away, when a person remembers seeing them every day for years.

Another sack (well, more than one, actually) was full of note cards, Christmas cards, valentines, note paper...I found two envelopes with the names of my nephews written up in the corner where the stamp would go and small heart stickers down in the opposite corner. After a little rummaging, I found valentines the size of the envelopes and figured out the mystery. Granny had purchased the valentines for the boys and then misplaced them before mailing them. I'll probably send them on to their daddy, for him to do with as he sees fit. Also in the valentine pile were some that had been addressed to friends at Senior Citizens. I don't know who Shorty was, whether Shorty was a he or a she, but Shorty certainly would have received a bunch of valentines, if they had actually made it to the center! One was addressed to Shorty from the Three Gals. I also don't know who the Three Gals were, but apparently they were a trio that others would have known. With the valentines were a number of addressed and sealed Christmas cards. I discarded the ones addressed to folks who I know are no longer in the land of the living, but I have the others ready to give to a friend who works at the center. She can decide what to do with them.

And there were the scraps of everyday life that were so hard to go through--notes about when the "judges" were on TV, grocery lists, a little note with two words, Lou (short for Louisville) and St. Louis...I think I can guess that was a time Granny was missing her boy and knew that she would need to fly from Louisville to St. Louis, if she were to see him. Beside the note was a quick sketch of some mountains and trees. That little scrap will go to my Little Brother, along with the valentines for his sons.

What does one do with the flotsam and jetsam of another person's life? It seems so unthinking to just toss it, all the notes they received, all the cards, the letters, the pictures of folks I don't even know...I'm open to suggestions.

I'm back to the boxes. Love to all, and God bless.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hello, Friends!

I just learned at lunch today that there are more readers for my blog than I knew of--that was exciting news!

David and I have a regular date every Sunday. It's an important part of our Sunday routine. We get up, eat breakfast, read the paper (if there's time), and head out for church in order to warm up with the choir before the 9:00 church service. Next we stick around for Bible study (Sunday School) and head home for a few minutes' break.

Then comes one of our favorite parts of the week--we go to the Plum Tree (a wonderful local Chinese restaurant). We tried to figure out several times how many years we have been doing this (eating at the Plum Tree). I guess it depends on how many years the Plum Tree has been in Georgetown, doesn't it! We do love that place. I have told friends of mine that my children think Sunday dinner includes rice and smells like soy sauce, and I do believe they think that.

First of all, the food at the Plum Tree is terrific. Yes, it's a buffet, but not your normal steam-table Chinese buffet. At the Plum Tree, the food is cooked in small quantities and placed in chafing dishes. Either the manager or wait staff is always checking the buffet to make sure there is enough food in the dishes, and more is prepared as needed. You can tell from the quality of the food that it is NOT cooked in a huge amount and kept warm back in the kitchen--no, indeed. It is prepared fresh as needed. The variety is very good. There are always chicken, seafood, and beef dishes, sometimes several of each. Yes, there is the standard sweet-and-sour dish, but also a fantastic hot, spicy shrimp dish and a chicken dish (General Tso) that is so great David chooses to eat it for dessert (well, his third helping, anyway). The egg rolls are the epitome of all the egg rolls we have ever eaten, and our family's standard for onion rings is the quality of the tempura Tron fixes--Tron's tempura onion rings are the world's best.

Then a person has to consider the atmosphere at the Plum Tree. It is a family restaurant, for sure. Our Plum Tree family consists of customers we have watched grow from infants to teenagers, and teenagers we have watched come back with their own infants! There are also dear friends we have met there and enjoy seeing each week. We know each other's hobbies, grandchildren (Nelda has a tableful now), car preferences (John loves his Camry station wagon), musical preferences...and these are folks we only see on Sundays!

But my favorite part of the Plum Tree experience is spending time with the staff. We do love these people. Currently we have the pleasure of regularly visiting with Lily (a nursing student), Xinging (a research chemist), Frances (the mother of former students), Yen (the owner/manager), Tron (the chef), Madison (Tron's 4-year-old granddaughter who calls David Papaw), Ding (Xinging's son, a computer science student at EKU) numerous others who appear and disappear from the kitchen. We've shared birthday cakes (we had a piece of Tron's pineapple-upside down cake today), successes (Lily's acceptance into and good progress in nursing school), recovery from accidents (Xinging's recovery from a broken arm, Frances' accident with her motorbike), sickness (Tron's open-heart surgery, Ginger's glaucoma), weddings (Tron's daughter, Twee, this past summer). Currently we are looking forward to Andy's (Lily's son) citizenship--he takes the test September 27. Also coming up, Sam (former Sunday-noon waiter, current student and evening waiter) will graduate from nursing school this December.

These folks have become dear, dear friends. My mother loved the Plum Tree, and the folks there loved my mother. They sincerely cared for her. When she was not with us on Sundays, they wanted to know where she was. If she was out because she was visiting, that was fine--just tell her they missed her. But if she were sick, pretty soon Tron would be at the table with a bagged order of cashew chicken and fried rice for us to take to her--no charge. When Mom was no longer able to come to lunch with us, they even visited her at her nursing home. When she died, they grieved, just as we had grieved when Yen's mother died several years before.

If you are ever in Georgetown and hungry, be sure and call me. We'll direct you to the Plum Tree, the best restaurant in this area (not just this town) and probably be more than willing to join you for a meal!

Good night to all, and God bless.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's Official!

It's official, folks--I've seen it with my own two eyes. I am now the granny of a TODDLER!!! Way to go, Fia! See for yourselves, you scoffers--

Love to all, and God bless!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

You know, I may turn into a prune!

Today when I headed out to the Pavilion for water aerobics, I'm not sure I knew how long I would be there! Usually I go at 9 (or a few minutes thereafter--promptness that early in the day is not one of my virtues!) and am out, dressed and on to other things by 10:15 or so. Today when the 9:00 class ended, a couple of us (new friend Margaret and I) decided to stay around for the first session of the Silver Splash water aerobics class, which was to start at 11. In the hour in between, Maggie, Emma and I floated around the lazy river a while and discussed whether or not Emma would stay for the later class. Her back was bothering her, so she opted to get dressed and watch from the observation deck. I also got to explore parts of the pool I hadn't yet tried while waiting for the later class, and even worked up the courage to get into the lap pool for a few minutes. Everyone was right, it IS colder than the exercise pool, so I didn't stay there long. At 11, Libby, Bonnie, and Bill--yes, a man!--joined us while we waited for Dawn (the teacher) to show up.

Silver Splash is going to be a good program, I think, with emphasis on areas where I need more work (balance and coordination). It's more low-key aerobic stuff, more choreographed, even with music. That's fun, and the different movements are challenging to learn, at least right now. It's a much quieter and less crowded class, since there are currently only five folks compared to the 20-25 who ordinarily make up the 9:00 class. The teacher reminded us to bring water the next time--I just laughed at that, since we never take water to the 9:00 class. But she was RIGHT, I did notice that I got thirsty during the second class. I won't forget my water bottle next time. I also noticed that besides being shriveled up and water-logged, I was really tired at the end of the second class.

I was trekking out to the car with my wet stuff when Emma invited me to go to lunch with Maggie and her. At first I said no, but then second thought and common sense kicked in--I needed to eat pretty quickly, and if I went home first, I'd probably not do that, so I decided to go. We had a really nice meal at Cracker Barrel, after which I felt re-energized (but not enough to go back to K-Mart with the other two ladies! As I told the cashier at CB, after spending $94.00 there last week, I didn't think our budget needed me going back again!). All in all, a good way to spend the morning. Anyone who is considering a water aerobics class, take it from me--it's worth every penny, every minute struggling into and out of wet bathing suits, and every pruney shrivel!

Good night, and God bless!