Monday, January 31, 2022

This Guy!


My wonderful husband turned 65 just this month.  Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!  (He's rockin' that bowtie, isn't he?)

We celebrated him the Sunday before his birthday because we already had a church dinner on the calendar.  Party, anyone?  We multitask every chance we get.

Then our family celebration took place at our house last night. His favorite meal was on docket - chicken and dumplings finished off with peach cobbler for dessert.  This is a picture of the beautiful table Kristin created for us. It's not easy to create such loveliness that will accommodate little hands, too.  Somehow, she and her sisters always do.

The tables have black tablecloths to represent Frank's classy side.  The table runner is of camouflage because he has battled faithfully for our family as spiritual head.  The silver candle holders speak of his wisdom.  And words describing him are scattered all around.  Words like: faithful, kind, strong, fun and so on.  This family loves their Papa! 

When our crew all get together it is a loud, loving, laughter-filled evening.  Our new neighbors are getting used to us, slowly but surely.  It's unusually cold right now in central FL so the grandchildren asked for a fire and smores to close out the party.  Of course, we had a lovely bonfire and smores as per their request.  

The little guys had a great time running and playing in our backyard while parents sat around the fire talking and teasing with one another.  After having prepared all the food, my only job was to sit and take in all the joy.  


I love the art piece a friend created for me several Christmases ago.  It says: "Noni and Papa's house. Where cousins go to become best friends."  This picture (which the boys asked me to take) seems to prove that adage. Are these not the cutest cousins you ever saw?


My gift to Frank this year (in addition to new walking shoes) was a compilation video which Cody helped put together.  I reached out to many of the younger ministers/couples we've had opportunity to work with since arriving here in FL.  Each of the ones I contacted, graciously responded and their messages to Frank were incredibly touching.  I think he was encouraged.  

This is the scripture I used to describe Frank earlier this year, "Have you seen a man diligent in his work?  He will stand before kings...." (Prov. 22:29 NLT)

And here's one more scripture that fits him perfectly, "God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him....God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes." (Psalm 18:20, 24 Message)

As my Grandma Miller often said, He's a Keeper!  

How about you?  Are birthday celebrations big in your family?  We'd love to hear about your traditions in the comment box.    

Monday, January 24, 2022

FL Snow Days

I find it hard to believe we are in the FOURTH week of January already!  Really?!

How ever did this happen?  And trust me, my shock is not because I've been sleeping like Rumplestiltskin.  It's more like I've been running wide open and haven't had time to register the dates of the days as I've slashed them off my calendar.  Oh, well.

You will cheer with me over a choice I made this past Saturday.  I woke up tired and sluggish so by 10 AM, I knew productivity was not in the cards for my day.  While scrolling through some of your pictures on facebook, I decided to give myself a snow day and suddenly felt much better.  

Listen, we lived in NC for 25 years.  I know all about the wonderful mental health break opportunities hidden under the title Snow Day.  We loved those.  You know, a little surprise day off since it wasn't smart to be out and about on the slick roads but you still felt well enough to get a few things done and watch an entire movie, just because?  Snow Days . . . those were just the best.

The only equivalent we have here in FL would be hurricane days (monster storms) that are downgraded to tropical depression days (serious rain event.)  And those come with a whole lot of tension because you aren't sure if your roof will blow off or if you'll be without air conditioning for days and days in the middle of summer.  Not really the same at all.

Temperatures did drop to unusually low points last night.  This was the beauty that greeted us this morning.


And here is one more through my husband's artistic lens:

No, that isn't snow in central FL but it is frost and we enjoyed it immensely.  Seeing our breath is another novelty in these parts.  The kids especially love it.

Speaking of kids.  We're trying to be more purposeful in spending time with our grands, especially the older five.  Over Christmas, we realized that we most often are around them in large groups because we don't want anyone to feel left out.  

So beginning this semester, I'm back to picking them up after school.  Only this time, it's just one child who then spends a few hours with Noni and Papa doing nothing special.  The kids got very excited about the idea and so far it seems to be going well.

Today is Noah's day since we went by age.  

The afternoon Spencer came over, he and I ran errands.  This is him sitting in a gaming chair at Sam's Club.  Apparently, these chairs are a dream item on every guys' list.  Most of his time was spent playing with a football in our huge backyard while I cheered for his amazing throws. 

Then on Abby's day, I taught her to make a sour cream pound cake the same way her great grandma taught me.  My mom would have been proud of the final outcome.

Next on the agenda was a couple of rounds with Papa playing Chutes and Ladders.

Bottom line is this, these visits are more about time together than about gifts or entertainment.  We made that clear from the beginning and they hopped right on board.  Besides, when you are part of a family with nine grandbabies, one on one time is a rare commodity in itself.  Papa and I are loving it, too.

We began our year just as we always have with a time of dedicated fasting and prayer.  The sweetness of my "one on one" time with Jesus was enhanced because of this new experience with the grands.  I gained a fresh appreciation for what it's like to talk quietly and to listen intently.  

Don't get me wrong, we love the loud and rambunctious times when we're all together.  But there's also something special about walking slowly, holding hands and hearing entire thought processes with a child.

That's how it is with our Heavenly Father.  He loves when we all come together with our church families worshipping, singing, celebrating but He also responds to alone time with us.  Listening to our heartaches and fears, our joys and dreams then responding in ways that make the journey better.

Have you been carving out time for that this year?  If not, let me encourage you to start.  It will be the best "mental health exercise" you've ever tried.    

How about you?  Do you get to enjoy snow days as an adult?  What are some memories you have of time spent with your grandparents?  We'd love to hear about your experiences in the comment box below. . .