Saturday, January 26, 2013

Phonetic Phenom! Part I

Over the past two weekends Frank and I have enjoyed some extra time with Spencer and Abby.

We don't have them by ourselves very often because Joy is a full-time, stay at home mom.   

But to our great delight, John swept her away for a two day celebration marking their fifth anniversary. (It's important to keep reminding ourselves why we got married in the first place, now isn't it?!)  Noni and Poppa joyfully swept in to keep the children fed and clothed!

Then yesterday, they let us take the babies for the morning.  We loaded car seats, diaper bags, snacks, juice cup, bottle, stroller, babies and headed for a walk around the lake.  Of course we were thrilled beyond measure and walked around smiling over every action of our adorable grand babies until our faces hurt.

People who stopped and engaged Spencer in conversation were shocked, of course, when our brilliant grandson (who is not yet two) focused on them and answered their patronizing questions with fully intelligible responses!  [Run-on sentence completely necessary!] 

His second birthday comes on February 5th and this kid communicates like a three year old.

One small problem accompanies an incredibly verbal two year old deprived of his full-time interpreter.  Noni and Poppa do not speak "Spencer-ese"!  And because Mommy, Dad, the two aunts, even Uncle Nathan DO understand nearly everything he says, the problem obviously lies with Noni!  (Or so Spencer reasons.)

We had only had them in the car for a few minutes last week-end when this difficulty became abundantly clear.  Mom and Dad had been kissed and dismissed for their second honeymoon.  Both car seats had been properly installed in Noni and Poppa's Tahoe. 

We were riding down the boulevard when Spencer said calmly from his spot in the back, "Moo Gick."  I smiled that grandmotherly smile of supreme satisfaction, "Isn't he adorable?!" I addressed the equally satisfied Poppa.  "Just listen to that little voice." 

"Moo Gick." it lilted toward the front of the vehicle with a precious sing song quality.

"Okay, Precious.  Everything is okay."  I spoke in reassuring tones.  He wanted to know that all was right with his little world even though Mom and Dad weren't with him.  How adorable!

"Moo Gick, pease!" Spencer was a little more insistent this time.  He was asking politely for something.  He obviously expected some sort of response.

"What's he saying?" asked Poppa.  His was a tone that meant "Let's find out what he wants and give it to him.  Just how much could the moon cost any way?!"

"I don't know,"  I responded.  "What do you want, Baby?"

"Moo Gick!  Noni, Moo Gick!"   The pacifier was out.  His legs had started bouncing.  His little arms were now flailing.

Oh, good heavens!  Fifteen minutes into this thing and we were already in BIG trouble!  Was he telling me he was hurting?  Warning me of impending diaper difficulty?  Begging for food?  What?!  What did this angel need that I couldn't get him because I couldn't understand what was perfectly clear to him?!!

I grabbed my cell phone and frantically started dialing Joy's number!  He grew louder and more frustrated in the back seat!

Just then, out of the corner of my eye, I happened to catch the direction of his arm flailing and blue eye focusing.............."Moo Gick, Noni!  Moo Gick!"

"MUSIC?!  Is that what you want?  You want Noni to turn on the radio?"

Huge smile.  Pacifier re-instated.  Blue eyes beaming.  Pudgy hands clapping.  "Yeah!  Moo Gick!" 

(If you guessed that right from the start, please don't ever tell me.  I'll feel even dumber than I did when the light finally dawned.)

I have a list of other fun Spencer-isms.  Frank said I should save them as a guessing game for tomorrow.  And since tomorrow is Poppa's birthday, that's exactly what I plan to do. Hope you'll stop back by to try your hand at "Translating Two Year Old"!   And leave a few great phrases from your own little ones.

Last time I wrote about our own tiny talker, someone shared this great story.  Their daughter (3 1/2 at the time) was busy coloring when Mom asked her to help tidy up.  The little girl looked straight into mom's eyes, held up the crayons clutched in both little hands and stated the obvious, "I can't, Mommy.  I'm full of hands!"

Too Precious!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Special Day

Today would be my mom's 75th birthday!

I'm sure she organized her own party in Heaven for today; then acted surprised when everyone yelled her name.  'Cause that's just how Mama rolled!

Coming up to this day brought some struggle for me.  The big days that she should be here to mark often do.  But, His grace is sufficient!

Frank knew I was quietly grieving her loss all over again today.  So after my lunch appointment, I found the most beautiful bouquet of spring flowers waiting on my desk.  Frank sent them to honor her special birthday and memory.  Such a good, good man!

You would have loved my mama!  Everyone did!

She battled a rare form of cancer for many years.  So, of course we made the most of every holiday and major event.  But it was a brain tumor that sneaked onto the scene and stole her away with almost no warning.

I'll forever be thankful to the precious people of Garden Grove Church who prayed and put action to their prayers.  They released me to be with Mom as much as possible during those final six weeks.

One of the great moments I remember during that time took place in the hospital.  I had no idea how rapidly the tumor was progressing so I wanted Mom ready when she got out.  (She had many hospital stays over the course of the years.)

It took some strong "requesting" but the physical therapists finally arrived in her room.  They started trying their best to get Mom on her feet.  She had rocked forward several times but couldn't seem to quite make the last push necessary for standing.

The therapist looked at her kindly.  He probably understood much better than I about what was actually going on.  He suggested that they lay her back down and just work her leg muscles.  Mom determinedly shook her head no!

Talking had become almost impossible for Mom.  The woman who had always been a verbal dynamo was reduced to monosyllable responses and visual cues for communicating.  But there was no misunderstanding her intent this time. 

Mom wanted to try again!

The two strong therapists made eye contact over her little gray head and one responded rather dubiously, "Okay, let's try again."

They grasped her arms, steadied her feet against their own and counted off once more. 

Lift.  No good. 

Again.  No good. 

On the third try of what we all knew would be the final attempt to help Mom stand, something seemed to rise up in her.

She tucked her chin and suddenly called out, "With the help of the Lord...........I WILL!!" 

Even though they were shocked, the therapists managed to hang on as Mom came to a slightly bent, standing position!  She wobbled around for a few moments, then sank back onto the bed.  Completely spent from the effort, Mom allowed the therapist to help lay her back down.

But the look of satisfaction in her big brown eyes will stay with me forever.

With the help of the Lord, she did!

What a great rallying cry for us all in moments when it feels that life will surely keep us from doing what we long most to accomplish.

"With the help of the Lord..............I Will!!"

And just in case they have internet in Heaven -  

"Happy 75th Birthday, Mama!  I know the celebration of being there beats any party we could have planned for you here!"

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I've spent the day as a prisoner in my own home!

Yes, I had a bit of a runny nose on Sunday.  Yes, I felt pretty run down.  Yes, I did fall asleep on the couch at 9:15 Monday night.  So?!

So........Frank insisted that I make a visit to the doctor Tuesday morning.  She promptly tested me for the flu.  Which apparently had taken up residence in my nasal cavities.  Resulting in the forced home imprisonment program!

I hear you, "Boy, what I wouldn't give for a day at home!" 

(Here comes the whine and cheese)

It's true that I did feel too badly to DO anything.  But I also felt too good to just wander from couch to bed and back again. 

When you're really sick, your eyes are closed.  You can hardly hold your head up.  You need the bathroom and tissues close.  You wonder if it's a misdemeanor to drink Nyquil during daytime hours.

But my somewhat glassy eyes were completely open:   
  •  The laundry mocked me.
  • The kitchen cried out for attention.
  • The blog begged posting.
  • The phone warned of un-returned calls.
  • The computer even "dinged" periodically.
 Oh, wretched flu-bug infested man that I am!

Fortunately, my doctor believes in the benefits of  Z-pacs.  Hopefully, when I awaken tomorrow morning I will readily rediscover my formerly chipper self.  And when that happens, boy do I have a story for you!!

Just a tease..........Frank and I kept the babies Friday and Saturday while John and Joy escaped the city for an anniversary celebration!

I now know why God gives small children to YOUNG people!!

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Headless Camel

At this very moment, a decapitated camel rests in forlorn fashion on my kitchen counter!

The camel is headless and I am heartbroken! 

I stand before you, the witless culprit of the dastardly deed.  Yes, I alone bear responsibility for the breaking of the camel's neck!  Such Shame!

A new nativity set beautifully graced our buffet throughout the 2012 season.  My joy soared each time I looked at it.  As we started putting away the decorations today, I (being the most careful member of the "put away team") offered to dis-assemble the new nativity.

I exercised such caution!  I paused to relish the colors and movement of porcelain clothing.  I carefully brushed away any dust that had dared to accumulate.  I thrilled as each member of the creche neatly found itself once again tucked into its assigned spot in the styrofoam protector.  

Unfortunately, Mr. Camel doesn't have an assigned spot.  Mr. Camel actually came to the manger scene as a later addition.  A piece of plastic and a lowly grocery bag serve as his annual covering.  And so it was that the moment came for me to slip the carefully wrapped beast of burden into the box.

But the only slipping that took place was Mr. Camel slipping from my clumsy fingers to the floor!

My loud gasp could not save Mr. Camel!  The break was quick! Clean!  And thanks to the plastic, contained!  I opened the packaging only to reveal what I already knew - I now have a headless camel!

Huge SIGH!

Frank hurried from the other room.  He glanced at the two pieces of porcelain held in my hands; the sad expression on my face.  Then he asked (in typical detective fashion) the question that drives every wife to despair - "What happened?!"

Fortunately, my wonderful husband does have ceramic glue and massive amounts of patience!  I dare say that by morning Mr. Camel will be whole once again.

Why all the fuss?  (Did you think that?)

Well, the nativity has sentimental value for me. 

I purchased it at the estate sale of the Kiser's home this past spring.  Some of you may remember the precious older couple I wrote about early last year.  The Kisers celebrated 62 years of marriage.  Then Hilda passed away in February and Ralph followed his bride just six weeks later.

Frank and I only had the privilege of knowing them in their sunset years.  Such a precious couple.  Ralph, a fighter pilot in his younger days, regaled Frank with military stories.  Hilda carried herself with the air of an officer's wife right up until the time she became bedridden.

Alzheimer's had stolen her spunky personality.  But one didn't have far to look in her home before seeing signs of the organizer.  The talented seamstress.  The fabulous chef.  The impeccable housekeeper.  The doting mother/grandmother.  The Christ follower.

I'd been looking for an additional nativity and gladly purchased the one that had graced the Kiser home so many years.

While unpacking it for display last month, I noticed that Hilda had carefully numbered the bottom of each piece.  She had then written the identifying number on the storage spot reserved for that piece.  Meticulous!

Not one of Hilda's nativity pieces was glued.  Not a single wise man's head.  Not a staff or lantern of Joseph.  Not a delicate hand of Mary.  Not even a finger of the Infant bears signs of breakage.

Her ages-old creche spoke to me of character issues Hilda could no longer teach. "A little extra care goes a long way!"  Rest assured that I heard her message clearly as I unpacked the nativity this season.  I determined to keep this set in pristine condition.

And that's why the broken camel was such a BIG, hairy deal for me!  Again I say, SIGH!!

Okay, so meticulous doesn't head my personality giftings list.  No one has called me a fabulous chef - ever!  And now, my poor camel (formerly known as Hilda's perfect camel) will show definite signs of slippage for all the future generations.

But David assured me in Psalm 145 that as long as I'm telling the next generation about the greatness of God in whatever way I'm given - that will be enough!  Headless camel and all!

Ah, the timeless messages of grace and hope!

Happy New Year to you, dear readers!  May His Grace and Hope fill each day of 2013 for you! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Happy New Year!!

I  hope all your festivities over the past few weeks have left you enriched, revived, and renewed.  Ready to begin a new year!  (Well, maybe that's a bit overly enthusiastic.)

At any rate, I do pray this will be a marvelous year of blessing for you and your family!

I experienced an odd "century jump" this morning and it's only 6:00 AM.

Because I delivered the sermon on Sunday, my devotional Bible is still in my office.  So, I had to scramble around on my computer for reading material after my coffee cup was well in hand.

I first clicked a software program called LOGOS that Frank recently put on my computer.  Immediately, a message popped up - "Update ready to install.  Click here to begin."

Well, I want to be as updated as the next guy, so I clicked here.

The little wheel at the top of my page began whirling!  This always makes me feel like I'm working hard even though I'm actually just sitting, staring at a screen.  Some days, it's down right exhilarating!

At 5:00 in the morning, it's pretty quiet around here.  So, I became impatient with the updating process rather quickly. 

Just as I reached to click out of installation mode, another little message popped up - "Installation will be complete in 28 seconds.  20 seconds.  15 seconds."

"Oh, this is going more quickly than I thought.  Guess I can wait it out after all."

"Installation complete.  Please click here to install phase two.  Installation Recommended."

"No one said there would be two phases to this!  Oh good grief!  But I'm already in this far; I probably should see it through."

Click.  Whirling wheel reappears.  Count down clock provides distraction just long enough to keep my impatient fingers off the cancel button. 

"Installation complete!"  Whew!

I began to ponder the thought that perhaps God should employ the "Pop up Message Method" of communication when it comes to matters of His will. 

You sit down to pray and a message appears over your head,  "Extra Grace ready for installation.  Click here to begin.  Installation HIGHLY Recommended."

Well, of course we would all click the installation button immediately.  We look over our heads and spot the little whirling wheel spinning in mid-air.

"Oh, good!  It's working!!"  Such a sense of satisfaction!

And imagine how patient we could be if, in the middle of installing Grace into our lives, an update message also appeared.  "Grace will be completely installed in 28 days.  25 days.  15 days........."

"Well, that feels like a rather long time!  But I'm already committed to this process; guess I'll stick with it."

Unfortunately, God does NOT feel it necessary to utilize pop up messages. 

He simply invites us to grow/change/update our thinking.  If we agree to said maturing process, He starts working.  But we don't know that He's working. 

All we can see is the difficulty and inconvenience.

No whirling wheel to say, "Have patience.  Just wait.  Trust Me.  You'll be glad you did!"

While pondering these thoughts, I clicked over to read Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest.  And one of my favorite writers from the turn of the century put it this way:  ".....God won't reveal what He's doing.  He reveals who He is!"

Such an unusual juxtaposition of thought the Lord used during my devotional time this morning.  The computer and Chambers.  One hundred years of technology separating the delivery methods.  But a singular truth.

God invites us to become more like Him.  We choose to follow (install).  He begins the process.  Eventually, His character becomes ours.  But the waiting period in between choosing and completion can be very frustrating!

So, if you're like me and could really use a message encouraging you to not "click out of the process" before it's complete - here you go!

"Installation of Godly Character will be complete in...............  Don't give up!  Keep watching for the sign that the work is complete.  Trust Him.  You'll be so glad you did!"