Did your grandmother have a magical purse, too? My Grandma Miller certainly did and how thankful I am! Here is a picture of the lady I absolutely adored: Grandma Miller and her dog, Kissy.
Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Monday, August 16, 2021
There is a reason, I can promise you.
This is a picture that Parker took of Noni's foot during a recent "photo shoot" he was doing. (Please be reminded Parker is three years old and things have a different perspective from the vantage point of being 2 1/2 feet tall.)
Here's the picture he snapped of his mom who was finishing her makeup in Noni's office. Great composition with his use of the door, don't you think? He must have his dad's eye for photography.
|Is this not the most honest picture ever?!|
|Crystal and I captured a quick photo together|
"Oh, be careful little feet where you go."
Saturday, July 31, 2021
This little guy is Amazing! His birthday was Monday and he turned three.
I know that may seem like a biased statement and I would have to agree with you. But if you knew Grayson Oliver Smith, like I know Grayson you would say it's true.
Typically, if you read about a "tenacious toddler" it would bring to mind images of temper tantrums and unruly children running around stores being chased by frazzled mothers yelling unrealistic threats.
In my desire to be transparent, I have to say I have witnessed a couple of less than stellar moments with young Mr. Smith's temper and his mother has indeed been frazzled from time to time. (Although I can assure you that she has never uttered a threat she wasn't willing to follow through on. His mama is one tough cookie.)
But this post describes a different kind of tenacity.
As part of all the July birthday and anniversary celebrating, Frank and I got to go to Bok Tower Gardens yesterday. We were part of an adventure involving all NINE grandchildren and the most capable child directors available - Joy and Kristin.
Side Note: Meagan and Nathan had saved/planned over a year to go away for their 10th wedding anniversary. However, those celebrations are best shared with only the bride and groom. What to do with four rambunctious offspring? Call your sister, of course. Joy managed her own version of boot camp so the Smiths could go away. Wrangling her four plus the Smiths' four plus Parker meant she had NINE children most of Monday through Saturday! If you'd like to applaud for her, feel free to leave a comment in the box below.)
It wasn't my brightest idea that we take them all to Bok Tower. The temperature topped out around 95 degrees and the famous Florida humidity felt like we were breathing through plastic wrap. The park was offering one of two FREE days to the public, so it was jam packed.
But we were on an adventure! So off we went with two kiddie wagons, a picnic lunch for 13 and a cooler filled to the brim with juices and water.
There were too many hilarious moments to record here. You'll have to ask Joy about her telling me to lower my voice when I started yelling because I thought one of the children was missing. Turns out, he was simply standing behind Papa and I couldn't see him. Oh well.
Bok Tower Gardens also has a lovely spot designed specifically for youngsters. Places to climb, make music, sing on a stage, draw and even play in water. The best part of the children's park is that everything is covered by lovely old oak trees offering at least a five degree drop in the temperature. You know where we parked the wagons, right under those trees.
One of the many playstations is a large balance beam that twists and turns four times while also offering the challenge of a steady incline. While all the children took a stab at completing the course, it was Grayson who saw the challenge as a personal issue.
If you zoom in on this picture, you can almost feel the determination in that little three year old body. I stayed with him long after the other children zipped through or tired of the challenge. They went on to other stations but not Grayson. He continued to carefully ease his way along the beam, concentrating like Nick Wallenda only to fall off again after several steps. I offered my hand for support but he declined. This had to be done on his own.
It took me a while to realize what was happening but Grayson had made up his mind . . . he was going to keep at it until he conquered the challenge. Again and again he walked that first beam. Each time his tiny foot slipped off, it meant he had to go back to the start. He usually had to wait then for other children who were then in line ahead of him. But he waited.
Try again. Get a bit farther. Fall off. Run back to the start. Wait in line. Begin again.
At one point, when I could see his frustration mounting, I tried to encourage him to just start again where he fell off. Nope! He was having none of it. This had to be conquered. And the only way for him to conquer was to walk successfully every step from the very beginning to the end.
I found myself amazed that this three year old was pushing himself so hard to accomplish this feat in such a systematic way but that's our Grayson.
Over half way. Fall off. Run back to the start. Wait in a longer line. Begin again.
I'm not sure if the Lord finally sent an angel to balance him but at long last, after dozens of failed attempts, Grayson Oliver Smith made it to the end.
The look on his tired, sweaty little face was priceless! He was so very pleased with himself and rightly so. His effort had finally paid off. That much effort deserved one more close up, don't you think?
Is there really an Olympian from any country as proud as that kid is right there? I think not. (No, I'm not crying . . . you're crying.)
For our trip home, the three little boys were buckled in to the van Papa was driving. The tired, stinky toddlers fell asleep almost immediately. Joy had loaded her four in their van and left just before us. Madi and Noah were with Kristin and me in my car. Their magpie chattering eventually tapered off and in the quiet, I pondered Grayson's determination.
I thanked the Lord for helping him stick with it until he finished. I was grateful I had been watching and didn't miss that amazing little smile of victory. Mostly, I prayed that Grayson's tenacity would serve him well for his future.
How about you, Dear Reader? Is there something you need to keep pushing yourself to accomplish? Is there a goal you set for yourself but you keep falling off the beam, so to speak?
Take a lesson from our Tenacious Toddler. Don't give up! Keep pressing for the prize. It may be taking more effort than you first imagined but if it's a worthwhile goal, keep going. The joy you'll feel when it's finally accomplished will certainly outweigh the frustrations you've felt while trying and failing and trying again.
I hope someday, when he's all grown up, Grayson will read this post and maybe even remember how excited he was in that moment. It would be wonderful if I could once again say, "Keep giving it all you've got, Grayson. Noni is proud of you!"
Friday, July 23, 2021
July is always a time of celebration around here.
Within 30 days we celebrate FIVE birthdays and a wedding anniversary. Abby Schreck (June 30), John Schreck, Zachariah Schreck, Noni and finally Grayson Smith. The anniversary celebration is for Meagan and Nathan. (Three of the five birthday people are in this picture.)
If you look to our extended family, you find two more birthdays and three more anniversaries. Now you know the real reason behind all those fireworks at the beginning of the month.
By the time we throw in a couple of camps, conferences and maybe even a few vacation days in July we have a full schedule.
The biggest celebration this year is the 10th Wedding Anniversary of our very own Meagan and Nathan Smith! Here they are ten years ago on the day of their wedding. So much joy, victory and anticipation for their future . . .
Here we find the happy couple 10 years later. Who could ever have predicted such abundance would be entrusted to those two young kids? Looking at the second picture, I know the words: Joy, Victory and Anticipation are richer in their story but still just as applicable for Meagan and Nathan.
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
My paragraph formatting problem has been remedied!
Yes, again but hopefully this time for good. You see this time, Cody taught me how to make the change if the problem recurs. Once we looked into it more closely, there was a simple switch that needed to be changed for my format. VIOLA, it was corrected!
Don't you wish all the major problems of life could be remedied by simply flipping a switch? Pushing the reset button? Changing direction? I want to share three such switches we flipped that have brought great peace to our lives. As you read, I'll bet you'll think of many examples from your own life.
- Frank and I recently realized we needed to dial back even more of our morning tv. Our morning routine used to consist of coffee, devotions, breakfast, at least one or two news reports, then off to work. Unfortunately, the news reports would cause frustration which set a bad tone for the day. So, we Flipped the Switch. Now we do coffee, devotions, breakfast, prayer together, then off to work. Let me tell you the level of PEACE this has yielded is amazing.
- When our girls were little, I quickly became a yelling mom. It made me unhappy with myself, it frightened the girls (and anyone standing around at the time), it sounded like I had lost control. So, I Flipped a Switch. Instead of yelling when the girls were misbehaving, I made myself whisper. I was shocked by their response. Lowering my voice caught their attention more quickly, it made me feel more loving, it sounded calmer to others around us. The PEACE was measurable.
- Lots of adults have fond memories of sleep overs and long vacations spent with their grandparents. But Frank and I didn't have that experience as children and our nine grandchildren all live right here. We've had some sleep overs but when they get together all at one time, it's loud and chaotic. In fact, I have a magnet that says, "Our family is one tent away from a full-blown circus!" So, we Flipped a Switch. Once the babies turn five, they are treated to a special annual birthday lunch at the restaurant of their choice. They have Noni and Papa's undivided attention for the length of our meal. That simple decision has brought us such PEACE. Here we are with two birthday girls just this week.
What I'm trying to say is that sometimes we get all worked up hoping to find a solution that seems impossibly difficult and completely beyond our reach. Then suddenly we discover that all we really need to improve the situation is to flip a simple switch and viola, Peace!
Please don't misunderstand. Simple does not always equal easy. But even if it's difficult and takes time, it will be 100% worth the effort. So, flip the switch. Do the work. Enjoy the Peace.
Thanks again for stopping by today. We would enjoy hearing the kind of simple switches you've flipped to improve your life. Please tell us about it in the comment section below.
Monday, June 7, 2021
Monday, May 31, 2021
Monday, May 3, 2021
Monday, April 26, 2021
Thursday, April 1, 2021
Monday, March 22, 2021
The PROBLEMS have been many. But as with most problems, mine were only temporary. I am literally "over the moon" excited to be back online with Embrace the Grace!
Thank you for not forgetting that this site exists. It has literally been weeks of frustration trying to figure out what was going on with the different formatting. Suffice to say, Kristin's husband Cody eventually found the solution and my gratitude could not be deeper!
While we were on radio silence, there were several developments.
- Joy passed all her state board exams to become a licensed cosmetologist!! (So, her BA in ministry and her minor in business will combine to make her the best stylist of all time.)
- I found a loveseat at a consignment store that was exactly what I had in mind for our living room.
- We sold my adorable little convertible. (It just so "happened" that Stella was also be the grandmother's name of the lady who bought her. Can't make it up.)
- We've been a one car family for weeks while I've searched for a replacement.
Yep, I took the plunge and went back to a short haircut. I'm still getting used to the styling part. And occasionally, I startle myself when I first glance in a mirror. But Joy did a great job talking me through the decision. Did I mention how much her ministry degree will be utilized in her salon work?
As I mentioned earlier, Frank and I are still on the hunt for the ideal used car to meet my needs while also accommodating some of my biggest desires. So, I need to wrap up today and be ready to leave when he gets home.
Because you've waited so very long and have been so incredibly patient, I thought I'd include a few extra pictures to make you smile today.
Noah and Madi spent an afternoon with us recently while Meagan was out of town. Dad gave permission for lunch at McDonald's and every kid needs an frozen drink now and again, don't you think? This is the two of them finishing their drinks while pondering the deeper things of life - like how to avoid a brain freeze.
John and Spencer went on a camping trip to celebrate his 10th birthday. (Our first double digit grandchild!) So Noni and Papa made dinner for Joy and the three youngest. Abby, Zach and Ava also needed some DQ so off we went in search of chocolate dipped in chocolate cones. Obviously, I was in the back with plenty of napkins.
This picture is just for the purpose of providing the McGhee family with a picture, too. This was taken in my office before the great haircut of 2021. Parker's face just makes me smile all the time!
Frank and I actually took time for a little date last week. For our anniversary this year, we bought an annual pass for Bok Tower Gardens. It's the highest spot above sea level in Florida. A beautiful pink marble tower stands as the centerpiece amid acres of native flowering plants and hidden parks which delight children and adults as well.
Bok Tower Gardens was one of our first dates as a couple. We strolled the walkways; admired the flora and fauna; sat at the overlooks and sneaked a kiss here and there. How fun to return after 41 years of marriage. The tower itself also houses one of the greatest carillons in the world. Concerts are given daily at 1 and 3pm. You should check it out if you ever come to the area.
This picture is taken where we sat to take in the concert.
Frank knows that when taking a photo of his over fifty wife, the higher the camera the better the picture. Typically. Here he is trying to get the best possible angle...
We're nothing if not dramatic!
So many more wonderful things to share but I'll close for now. I've chosen a few pictures taken of flowers growing in our yard. The first is an orchid that has only bloomed a couple times in the many years I've owned it. The last big blooming took place for Kristin's 30th birthday. She was waiting to meet her husband and we took it as a promise since orchids are her favorite flower.
This plant is now a huge bush that blooms every spring. A church member, who is now gardening in Heaven, gave me a small cutting almost twelve years ago. It was a favorite flower for his own mother. He explained that it's referred to as an I Love You Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow bush. The flowers first bloom purple, then turn lavender and finally turn white before dying. Such a beautiful promise of love to me...
The final photo is one Frank and I snapped during one of our many car shopping expeditions. We had driven all the way to Orlando after work. It meant battling the horrible 5PM traffic during rain only to be disappointed by the vehicle we found. When we stopped for a bite to eat as we left the dealership, this is what we saw...
Did you find the full rainbow? Yet another reminder that God's promises can be trusted. An orchid to remind a young lady that love would blossom in due season. A bush reminding us that love is for always: yesterday, today and tomorrow. Finally, a rainbow that spoke to two discouraged people searching for a needed item, I see you and I'm aware of your needs.
Hopefully, all these pictures have given you a smile.
Hopefully, the main message has encouraged your heart. Problems may be many but they are only temporary. Promises are what last forever and can be trusted completely.
Thank you So Much for being a reader of Embrace the Grace! Blessings!
How about you? Have you encountered problems that were temporary and promises that proved to be forever? We'd love to read about your experience in the comment section.