my relatives

You would think that an 89-year-old woman, who had remarried and moved to Arizona for 22 years and then come back to spend a few years in assisted living and/or nursing home wouldn’t generate much interest.  But the visiting lines for my mother-in-law at the funeral home were very long-and without too much sorrow.

One of the reasons is that she had four children, and they are all believers in Christ.  Five churches were heavily represented last night:  her own, and those of each of her children.  Add a lot of Christian relatives in there, and you have quite a gathering of saints-maybe a glimpse of what heaven will be like.

This morning my hand still smells of other folks’ perfume; perhaps that is a taste of heaven too.


My husband’s mother went to be with the Lord yesterday.  Isn’t that an amazing thing?

We were all able to be with her in the nursing home as she passed from this world to the next; her breathing was so labored, and still she lingered.  Then we sang that good old chorus:

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus–there’s just something about that name.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus–like the fragrance after the rain.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, let all heaven and earth proclaim….
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away, but there’s something about that name.

And the instant we finished, she stopped breathing and went straight into His arms!  We all cried with grief, but also with excitement, and yes, with a little bit of envy, too.

I’ve been thinking about My Tiny Kingdom’s Flashback Friday’s theme of


and how that could really apply to just about anything.  For example, a person could post about a good ol’ friend one had way back in 1977–

I (nicknamed Spike) traveled down to St. Antonio, Texas with my friend (nicknamed Chester) and her husband, to visit her in-laws.  This photo was taken after a little foray across the border into Mexico.

But then I remembered some photos of my parents that I really treasure, and decided to show these instead.

This is a picture of my dad and I taken thirty-two years ago, in front of the fireplace in the house that my parents built.  Many of the rocks in the fireplace have special meaning (for example, there’s a rock from the place where he grew up, and there are also rocks especially selected by the neighbors just for this occasion).  The hurricane lamp and clock belonged to my great-grandparents.  The attire Dad is wearing was everyday stuff for him, but mine was kind of special.  Note the bell-bottoms on my bibs!

Then there’s Mom and I.   Here are our feet, on the day in Gulf Shores, Alabama, when we splurged and bought ourselves something new on the market, before they were so “all the rage.”  I remember that when we wore these to a fast-food restaurant, some ladies made disparaging remarks behind our backs.  They’re both probably wearing bright orange ones right this minute!

And here we are four years ago at Loch Lomond, Scotland, on a day that rained and rained and rained.


Teacherperson passed along the game of Fourth Picture Tag, and I found an interesting photo in my files:

This was taken last summer with my mother-in-law, her children, and their spouses.  We are all squinting in the sun while our niece is telling us where to stand.  In many ways, I think it’s better than the formal photos that were taken afterward!

If you would like to play this Tag, here are the rules:  1) Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on your computer

2) Select the 4th picture in the folder

3) Explain the picture

4) Tag 4 people to do the same (I am tagging the four people who read this blog!)


This year on Christmas Day, my husband’s mother told us it was her best Christmas ever.

This could be a silly statement, seeing as how she is in a nursing home, in a wheelchair, and hardly knows who-is-who or what-is-what.  Because she had a nap before we arrived, she wasn’t even sure it was still Christmas when we visited.

And yet, it gave us all pause.  My sister-in-law was greatly moved because she said it should really humble us, we who have so much.  Mom has so little and yet is so grateful for what she does have.  How poor of us to dare complain about ANYTHING after that!

I myself am very moved by the grace of God toward Mom.  How unfailingly kind He has been toward her in her older days, causing her not to realize the passage of time while sitting alone or not to be aware of pain and loneliness.  If she does have any emotional hurt (which I don’t think is often), she finds solace through holding the Bible in her hand and staring at the page.

His grace in this situation extends to us too.  We do not have to agonize so much because we can’t spend every minute with her.  How comforting it is to see her passing into His presence this way.


On a more material note:  Some folks have been overly eager to hear what I purchased for myself before Christmas!  It is not as exciting as some might hope, because these items were simply an “expedience” thing.  My husband doesn’t go out of town often, and because I myself did, I purchased two things I wanted (and sort of needed) on sale:  a toaster oven and measuring cups.

There IS a third Christmas present I saw ahead of time, and it happened this way:  I had put a newly issued, highly acclaimed gluten-free cookbook on my Christmas list, and when I was placing an order with Amazon. com for other things, I asked my family if they too needed anything from this store (due to free shipping).  My husband replied, “I need a gluten-free cookbook.”

So I ordered it, opened the box when it arrived, my son wrapped it, and it went under the tree.  I emailed my friend and told her I was getting it for Christmas, it was really large, but that I hadn’t looked inside.

She replied the same!  She herself had purchased one and when a third party asked a specific question about it, her answer had to be, “I don’t know.  I’m not allowed to look at it!”

So I guess I’m not alone in this new method of receiving Christmas presents.  How many of you folks did the same?

The sun is shining, the cat is sleeping in the chair, and we’re warm and safe inside on this first day of the New Year.  I wish for you, my friends, many many blessings in the coming months!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13


I had a short but interesting conversation with my dad today.  When I called, their answering machine started to pick up the call, but my dad quickly picked up the phone then, and we began to talk.  He was out in the farm shed and told me that Mom had called a few minutes ago to say she was headed home, and that she would bring lunch with her.

The subject quickly turned to my dad’s concern:  what should he buy for my mother’s Christmas present?  He had no idea, and now it’s only a week until Christmas….

Knowing how easy it is to spend someone else’s money, I readily came up with a couple of great ideas!   (I will not be specific here, on the off chance that “someone” from my family will read this blog)

We were happily into details, brand names, and plans when we heard this sound:  beeeeeeeeeep.  It was the answering machine, which had been recording our entire conversation!  And quite frankly, it could be quite possible that my mom had arrived home and had been gleefully sitting in the kitchen listening to every word we uttered!

“DAD!”  I said, “That was the answering machine!  It recorded everything we said!”

“ACK!” he replied.  “I gotta go to the house!”  Click.  And THAT was the end of that.

I didn’t know I was supposed to write a Thanksgiving post till all my xanga friends pointed it out, so I only took one photo on the Big Day.  But it does tell a story.

I was planning to take several of my niece holding her twins, in the hopes that I would end up with one photograph that didn’t have closed eyes, open mouths, or arms in the way!  But if you look at the photo closely, perhaps you can guess what might be coming next-and all opportunity for another photo of them was lost.  (HINT:  Mama was not happy)

I spent the day before Thanksgiving cooking as I’ve done every year, even though this was the first time in years when the meal wasn’t going to be at my house!  In this way, my son and I were able to take our own gluten-free food to the feast, and we all came home to leftovers in the evening.

In spite of being gluten-free, we were still able to carry on our tradition of making “turkey bread.”  I have a photograph of my children with their turkey bread for every year since we began, so we can’t stop now.

Younger son, in grade 1

Even though it definitely took a drastic down-turn for the worse this year…ah well, there are many more new recipes to explore.

Younger son, in grade 11

Everyone in the extended family was kind enough not to mention its loss; the taste of it is something they all look forward to at the holidays.

FRIDAY could be dubbed Teenage Day.  Because some teens who had moved away were coming to the area to visit their grandma, we hosted a get-together in our church basement for the teens to play games, chat, and dance some English Country and contradance.

My older son traveled to pick up some dagorhir warriors from New York state (girls this time) and they slept at our house for a few hours before leaving to attend a dagorhir event in the Washington, D.C. area.  Every mother’s dream:  to have children traveling on the highways on Thanksgiving weekend.  If you’re dying to see dagorhir in action, click HERE to see a 30-second commercial.

TODAY: Ah, today is the relaxing day, the housecleaning day, the catch-up day, the prepare-for-the-next-whirlwind day!  It is good to have a few hours like this!

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