Destination: Sanctification

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Location: Heart of Texas, United States

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Aunt Susie!

She had a large summer bag for a purse, perfectly applied lipstick, and a purple cast on her foot - that was my first memory of Aunt Susie. After being introduced by her nephew (who became my husband), she sauntered right up next to me and said, "She doesn't look so tough to me." A very memorable and totally unexpected response after an introduction!

After dinner today, we went as a family to go to her grave site. In honor of her birthday today, I picked out some happy, yellow daisies to place in the vase. As the children explored the nearby surroundings with my husband, I stood gazing at her name and was overcome with a flood of memories. She was one of, if not the most, influential woman in my life. I learned more by watching her than anything else.

She taught me what I needed to know about keeping house, attending to my husband and then our children. She taught me about meal planning, shopping on a budget and even sewing. She demonstrated the most gracious hospitality and was not easily flustered or upset by much. She was able to handle most everything with smile. I appreciated how she always gave me a nudge in the right direction by her wonderful "suggestions". It was magical the way she was able to do what I call the sandwich conversation: Say something positive, make your suggestion/reprimand, and then more comments on the positive side. Let me tell you, this works wonders when I use this method while talking with my kids! She was sincere and concerned without being a hovering or controlling person.

Since this is a blog and not a book, I will try to keep this cursory. It has been fives years now that she has been gone. I have come to the final stage of grief, which is acceptance. How I have missed the love that she showered into all of our lives though! Around Aunt Susie,I would never know what to expect next. If she was on a trip to Canada or Paris or Mexico - we might receive post cards or envelopes filled with correspondence on the hotel letterhead indicating where she was and what they were up to. She always brought back sweet, little gifts, nothing extravagant (she was a thrifty shopper) but it expressed her love - in which we were delighted about, even if it was lotion from the hotel in Paris! (But the chocolate was the best!)

She is the reason I had such a beautiful wedding. She was there when I had both of my babies, at the ready to help me through it all. She was there when I was sick in the hospital or helping to find the right speech therapist for my daughter. I miss our telephone conversations and seeing her sing in church. I miss sitting around the table watching her laugh and talk.

Our lives will never be the same. Because she loved God, she was able to love others so well. Who could ask for a better example of a godly woman? I am so blessed and so glad for the time I had with her. I wish I had paid more attention, but the lessons I did learn from her will not be easily forgotten and will hopefully be passed on to the next generation. 

". . . beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness". (Isaiah 61:3)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cup O' Love

I did a little "house cleaning" on my computer - you know, with the new school year and all. So, dummy-me, I cleared out my temporary files and kept right on clearing, including my cookies. Good grief, that is a mistake I won't be making again any time soon.
Anyhoo, I didn't have time to get it all figured out until this morning. I think I have all the kinks worked out. So, now that I am able to post. . . I have some thanking to do.

Now, I have seen this award, "A Perfect Blend of Friendship", floating around various blogs. I was so excited to see that Tracie sent it my way. Thank you for your kind words and for thinking of me. A hot cup of comfort is just as sweet and savory as a special friendship. It makes me feel so rich. I have truly enjoyed getting to know her better over the last year and am so glad she made the leap into blogland! Thank you, Tracie!

I love to pop over to Louise's blog - always full of charm, beauty, and surprises. She also gets really neat awards. And now I get to pass one on to her! She is a kindred spirit who enjoys the bliss of life in lovely England. Louise has left such kind and thoughtful comments on both of my blogs - pretty special after seeing how long her blog roll is.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Going Green. . .

We got around to being more serious about recycling this summer. I am talking about focused effort here, folks. It all started at the beginning of the school year, when we began putting our paper in a designated bin by the computer desk instead of the trash. We felt good about taking it to the special yellow and green dumpster where it would be recycled and help fund our school.

Wow, I thought, what else can we recycle? I was always hung up on the idea that you would need a good amount of space in order to recycle correctly (i.e. sort). I don't have room for three or four bins. I live in a smallish house (no garage) where storage is at a premium. But then I noticed the red recycling bins in the neighborhood, everything went into one bin and then dumped all together into one truck. No sorting necessary. Number one excuse eliminated. Cool. Now why didn't I notice that sooner?

FYI: This was the best example I could find. Mine is actually red and I don't live in Houston.

Yeah, so - in went the milk jugs, water bottles, soup cans, peanut butter jars, jelly jars (we still consume our fair share of PB&J around here), yogurt containers, etc. Long story short: I ended up trading our tall trash can in the kitchen with our much shorter, smaller "recycle can" that was neatly kept in the pantry. I put stick notes on the trash can lids as reminders of the switch, it was all rather confusing. Are you confused? So was I. Outside, our little red recycle bin was literally over flowing while the big 'ol green trash can on wheels had only two small bags after a week (hardly worth the effort to schlep it to the curb). I am going to have to call the city and ask for another red recycle bin! (they only pick up recycling every other week)

Then, I began thinking about all of the plastic bags we come home with after grocery shopping. I knew of one place around the corner that would take the used bags to recycle, but when I got there I found out that they no longer did that. After a little research, I found out that it actually costs more to recycle a plastic bag then it does to make a new one. WHAT?! On top of the fact that it takes away from the beauty of nature and is a real hazard and threat to animals.

So, I sewed a fabric grocery bag and gathered a few other cloth bags I had around the house before my next grocery trip. For the first time (I was a bit nervous) I told the person at the register I didn't want to use the plastic bags. However, after a couple of trips, I noticed that it was not easy trying to get groceries into floppy bags. So. . .the next trip, I asked for paper. May I just say that Target has the best brown paper bags with handles but, to be fair Braum's bags are a very close second. This has worked beautifully! After the groceries are put away, I carefully refold and store the paper bags until next time. I don't have to use plastic and it is easier for the person to bag the groceries. If the paper bags get worn out or torn - I can simply put them in the recycle bin! Viola!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Arte Y Pico Award

I want to thank Tracie at All About Whatever for sharing this very special and beautiful award with me. Let's see if I can follow the rules for this award, I need to:

1) Pick five blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
4) The award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of Arte Y Pico blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award -- which is here.

So without any more delay, I happily present this award to the following bloggers:

*Rhonda Jean at down to earth **inspiring others to live a simple life, changing her life from consumer to conserver - I love how she encourages the feeling of community on her blog.

*Tangee at A Sparkly Messy Life**her blog is all about loving life, being adventurous in crafting and creating. I admire her sense of style.

*Roxi at Roxi Designs**she finds her bliss in creating and designing with an assortment of mediums. Recently she tried (very successfully, I should add) her hand at hosting a lovely summer swap. This is one talented lady.

*Rae at Made by Rae**sewing loveliness. . .I have thoroughly enjoyed her Summer Topathon. She shares her patterns and very useful and artistic sewing ideas, that I find delightful!

*Cathy Jean at Home Sweet Home, Noble **sewing aprons, cooking up yummy recipes, protecting her garden from naughty rabbits or enjoying good brisket without beans . . . I am always happy to see what she is up to. Her blog is just as lovely and inviting as her beautiful porch.

I would like to thank all of these ladies for the beauty and inspiration you add to your viewers lives. Thank you for sharing such loveliness!