Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Do You Look Like a Grandma Too?

Last week while we were waiting for the Collingsworth Concert to begin, Parker looked me over & said "Grandma, you look like a Grandma but you really are a Mom". Well! At first I thought Parker was telling me how old I looked. Then I remembered a conversation we recently had...

We were having lunch one day when I had the Little "W's". Bob happened to be there too & Parker said to him, "Grandpa, you are my Mommy's Daddy and Grandma is my Mommy's Mom." He was just getting the concept of how we are all inter-related--probably a difficult thing for a 5 year old to figure out. Then I told him that his "Grandpa & Grandma Mother" as he refers to them (his great-grandparents) were Papa's mommy & daddy. It was like a light went off in his head! He immediately turned to me and said "so, who are your mommy & daddy". I gulped & told him it was his Grandma & Grandpa Brown, hoping I didn't have to also explain the death concept! I asked if he remembered his Grandpa Brown & he said he did, but probably just knows that is who is in a photo sitting on his dresser. Thankfully, that satisfied him & he went right on talking about something else.

Ater mulling this over, I realized Parker was really paying me a compliment in his own sweet way. He now knows I'm a "mommy", but more importantly to him, I'm Grandma! Bless his little heart....

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Happy birthday, my friend!

Hollyhocks at White River Gardens

Happy Birthday to Mary Ann!

We were neighbors, but didn't know it, being separtated by an Interstate & a few houses. Both of our husbands are Chevy car lovers and by chance, we met at a Convention many miles from here. Bob noticed that the display card on their dashboard said they also were from Columbus! So, he looked them up, introduced himself, and it was the beginning of a friendship for both Bob & I.

Mary Ann in the Butterfly Conservatory at White River Gardens

It's amusing how our lives correspond, although we met by chance. We are almost the same age, both love flowers and gardening, we both love to cook (although she is more "gourmet" and I'm "good ole country cookin'!"), both have sons named Jeff, share the love of going on gardening adventures, and have husbands that are complete car nuts!

Our homes are only a mile apart. We don't see each other often as both lead busy lives, but our journeys together are enjoyable. We have gone to Streamcliff Farms for lunch and also attended gardening seminars, toured Burnham Woods near Bloomington, visited White River Gardens & Zionsville, shopped in Nashville, driven the Brown County Garden Tour, shopped at Elsburys & Whipkers Garden Centers, toured Schimpff's Confectionary in Jeffersonville, had lunch at Batar near Seymour, and probably done some other things that I've forgotten.

Taking time to smell the roses at White River Gardens...literally!

Have you ever read Ann of Green Gables? She referred to her friend Dianna as a "kindred spirit", & perhaps that best describes my friendship with Mary Ann. We have laughed together, shared problems, cried together, and have become close friends.

Happy Birthday, Mary Ann!!! Have a wonderful day....and I won't tell how many candles will be on your cake!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


For you non-gardeners, you may want to skip this one!

This morning I was on my way in town & had a few minutes to spare so decided to enjoy the beautiful spring day. I detoured off of Washington Street & almost immediately was in a

wonderland of Bluebells! There on the hillside, in the back yard of my "dream house", were hundreds, and maybe thousands of little Bluebells in full bloom. I just happened to have my camera handy so pulled over & took a few shots--through the iron fence.

Driving on down the street I found more Bluebells in bloom. Masses of them had been carefully planted & this must have been their peak bloom time. In a few weeks their leaves will wither away & we won't be able to tell they were ever there, until next spring when they surprise us again. Last year was the first time I had ever found any growing in the wild and I was so happy about that. Now I have another pathway to explore!

I'm so glad I slowed down this morning. Doesn't God paint a beautiful picture for us when we least expect it? Take a little time for yourselves...get off the main road & take a deep breathe & enjoy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


One afternoon recently I decided it was so nice I would just grill outdoors & throw a potato in the oven for supper. I quickly turned the oven on, went outside to start the grill, came indoors and made a pitcher of iced tea, and tossed a salad. ( I got a much needed new grill for my birthday & am loving it!)

Bob came home & I grabbed him to do a few chores for me, then I put 2 beautifully thick butterfly pork chops on the grill. I was running a little behind so hurried to set the table as the pork chops were about done. Dinner was ready!

Everything was on the table & I opened to oven to take out our baked potatoes...and much to my surprise, the oven was empty! I forgot to put any spuds in the oven! Needless to say, we had a supper without our starch! And it didn't hurt us a bit.

It's a little scary when you realize you how forgetful your are becoming!!! I sure was glad I wasn't cooking for company...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy 80th Birthday, Dad!!!

It was celebration time for Dad Thompson with an after church dinner on Sunday, with some special family members and friends gathering in. We were celebrating Dad T's 80th birthday!

Even though I've been in this family for more years than I want to acknowledge, I'm not quite as up to date on all of the family history on this side, as my own. Therefore, this will not be so detailed.

Dad grew up in Washington, Indiana. He was middle child out of seven children, having 3 brothers & 3 sisters. Two brothers and two sisters are still living.
The Thompson Siblings-Brayton, Freida & Robert (Dad)

I've heard him tell of going to spend summers with his grandmother along the Wabash River near Merom, Indiana. And it wasn't always just for a fun summer vacation, but they would have to work, digging for mussels in the mud of the river bank. It was hard work for young boys.

By not being truthful about his age, he was able to enlist in the Army/Air Force at the way too young age of 16! There he learned more about hard work and earned his "wings" to be a parachute jumper. He has told that on his first jump from a tower he sprained his ankle badly & never had to actually jump for an airplane.

He married the red-headed girl of his dreams just one week after her 18th birthday. This June they will celebrate their 62nd anniversary! Out of that marriage came 5 children, two daughters and three sons...(me ending up with their oldest son), six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren--so far!

Dad worked on the B & O Railroad after he was married where he learned to be an electrician. Later he was able to use that skill in his construction business. For many years he has been a builder & developer in new home construction.

But more importantly, he became a Christian when he was 21 years old and answered "the Call to Preach". His first pastorate was at Wisebaugh, Indiana. Then he moved his family to Beckley, West Virginia where he pastored the church there for 8 1/2 years. Feeling they should get their children into a Christian school, they made the move to Kansas in 1962. From there he pastored a church in Mexico, Missouri for 3 years, then served at Butler, & Callieo, Missouri for a while. And he also went to work for Rock Island Railroad while living in Kansas, and in his "spare time" built a few houses!

In September, 1968, Dad moved his wife and two of his children to Columbus, Indiana, thinking he might be at this church for just a few years. This September will be the 40th anniversary of that move and he is still pastoring the same church. During this time he has started a radio ministry, built a new church building, started a Christian Day school, and had a mission work in Belize for several years.

During the years in Columbus, he has either traveled or hosted trips to The Holy Land on 12 different trips. He has taken mission trips to Alaska, England, Haiti, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, Korea, and probably other places I have forgotten. Needless to say, he has been a man of energy & strength with a love for the work of the Church on his heart.

He has been a family man also. And now in his later years, when Mom's health is failing, he has taken on the duty of doing all of the work around the home that she had always done, plus care for her. He has led a very busy life and it is now time to celebrate the many good years, slow down, and enjoy the years ahead.

Happy 80th Birthday Day!!!

We love you very much!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cake & Candles in Heaven

Today is--or was--my Dad's 84th birthday.

How do you say that after your loved one is gone...It's still his special day!

My Dad was born on the 20th of April in 1924. His family lived in Missouri & worked in the sawmills. Sometime before Dad was born the Brown family loaded up & went to Oklahoma to work in the sawmills there. While there the family of six (and later baby Duane!) lived in a tent. A few years ago my Aunt Fern told of the times while living there. She said they thought they had it pretty good as they had a wooden floor built for their tent! What luxury....

He has been gone now for 3 1/2 years--sometimes it seems like he never left us--and sometimes it seems so long ago since we spent those long days helplessly sitting in the ICU room at Menorah Hospital. We still miss him so much.

But this is a day of remembering happy memories. We could hardly wait in the summer time for Dad to get home from work to take us swimming. It would be out in the country in some farmers muddy pond! And to top it off, Dad would make us memorize scripture & quote it to him before we would set off on our little adventures.

We took camping trips. At first we just had a little tent, Coleman table top stove, cooler & a trunk load of fishing poles. Once we went on a 3 week camping trip to Yellowstone National Park, staying in our tent all but two or three nights. Later Mom & Dad handcrafted a fold-out camper, using our old tent as the pop-up--& we thought we were really ready to camp in fashion!

Dad was my driving instructor. We always had a stick shift car (until AFTER I got my license!) and off we would go out in the country on the gravel roads and he would let me get behind the wheel. (That was before the days of having to get a permit before you got your license!) He taught us to drive defensively...always think about what the other car is going to do.

He was a master when it came to barbecuing! Being a welder, he handcrafted a heavy duty grill & cooked up delicious burgers, chicken, pork steak & once in a while a great sirloin.

He made us things. He worked for a pipeline & was a welder. He would get their scrap metal & would never think of buying something he could make! Our swing set would probably have held the fattest kid in town! We had a teeter-totter that not only "teetered", but swiveling on a ball bearing in the middle. If there were 3 of us kids playing, one would push the other two until we were twirling like a helicopter blade, & then quickly run out of the way. That was probably our favorite! He made us a pogo stick that had such a heavy spring we could hardly jump! He made us stilts! He made me a heavy duty hula hoop out of garden hose and I really had to "hula" to keep the thing up! And I think it was Steve that had the walking springs that strapped on our shoes---which were very dangerous & never worked just right.

He was a devout Christian. Dad loved the Lord and wasn't ashamed to testify of his salvation. He almost always carried a little New Testament in his shirt pocket which he would read on his lunch hour at work. I remember seeing him many times just pulling his little Bible out of his pocket to read a few verses. He took us to revivals, fellowship meetings, church camp meetings & any special services that might be within driving distance.

He was also faithful to his own parents. My Grandpa & Grandma Brown were never wealthy and Dad would see to it that they had what they needed. About every other Saturday we would all load up in the car to go to Grandma Brown's for the day, either taking groceries to them, or going grocery shopping for them later on. Dad would do any small chores that might need attending to. Later, when Grandpa was gone & Grandma was in a Nursing Home, we spent most Saturdays going to visit her. Dad would take her favorite fruits to her and I remember him sitting, reading Scripture to his Mom.

Later on he became a great hero to his grandchildren. He always had time for them, time to play with them, time to torment them, tease them, & teach them about the important things in life. Like how to ride a bike, how to climb a tree, how to fish....I could go on and on.

Not just because he was mine (but I'm sure I'm a whole lot prejudiced!) Dad was a great man. We wish he didn't have to go through some of the things he experienced in those last few months but we had been warmed my the Hospice nurse that he probably wouldn't live very many months after our Mom was gone. If Heaven has candles & cake, maybe they are having a big birthday party today!

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Friday, April 18, 2008

I Felt the Earth Move...under my bed!


I woke up with a start. It felt like someone was shaking my bed. Half asleep, I heard a howling, like a strong wind, and thought "how in the world is that wind making my bed move inside this house"??? Bob woke up hearing our doors rattling, like a strong wind was coming through.

And then it quit.

Bob & I both jumped out of bed about the same time...5:39 to be exact--wondering what in the world had just happened. Not wanting to get too wide awake at what is way before our getting up time (blush!), we headed back to bed for a few more minutes of sleep.

My head hit the pillow but I was too wide awake to go back to sleep quickly. My first thoughts were...that had to be an earthquake! And it was. A 5.4 magnitude one that was centered just north of Evansville, Indiana, which it about a 3 hour drive from here. So far, no word of any extreme damages...just my nerves were put on edge.

And here I thought I was safe & sound smack dab in the middle of Heartland USA. You never know when you are going to shake, rattle & roll around here!!!

Did you feel it?

YIKES...I felt another one!

It is now 11:16 a.m.---& I just felt the earth shake again!!! As I'm sitting at my computer desk, peacefully reading blogs, I felt the room start to shake & tremble & heard a noise like a huge semi truck passing by on the highway (We live next to I-65!) The noise kept up for a few seconds while my computer screen literally shook on my desk. Very unsettling...

All is quiet again--but I'm thinking about going on a little vacation to see my brother in sunny California where the ground is a bit more stable. Want to join me?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Please breathe a prayer..

My sister-in-law is undergoing surgery this morning that could last up to 3 hours. Please breathe a prayer for Vickie that the Doctor's hands will be guided in the right direction.

We love you, Vickie!

Praise report!

Bob received a voicemail this afternoon saying that Vickie's surgery went well & she received a very good report. As Steve said..."Thank you, Jesus!" I'm sure they both appreciate your prayers.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Daffodil Winter at Streamcliff Farm!

Saturday my gardening friend & I journeyed to one of our favorite places--Streamcliff Farm--in southern Indiana. We had signed up for a "Spring Flower Conference/Flower Pot Work Shop". We about froze!

As soon as we got there we headed for the gift shops, mainly to keep warm! The little lady working there said that we were having "daffodil winter". First time I had ever heard that gardening tale! She also said that we have 4 "winters" before warm weather comes. Daffodil, redbud, dogwood, & blackberry winters. My Mom had always talked of blackberry winter...but the other 3 were new to me.

We started out with lunch provided by Twigs & Sprigs Tearoom & it was delicious! Have you ever had "Birdseed Pasta"? One of their specialties & I always try to get it.

Betty Manning charmed us with a slide show of her gardens...making us want to buy every plant in her greenhouse! And her son Gregg shared his love for Hostas (he has over 200 specimens in his gardens!) plus answered all kinds of questions from a room full of flower loving old hens. Later, Betty showed us how easy it is to put together a fresh bouquet...well, at least she made it look easy! And then it was time to do our flower pots. But it was so windy & cold we all decided to load them up, take them home with us & do them in warmer conditions.

Betty Manning, reading a story of "garden fairies"

Mary Ann & I tromped through the plant section but I just couldn't get in the mood to buy too much with the wind whipping through the greenhouses. I do have 3 beautiful bleeding heart plants & 3 rose campion's that will be patiently waiting for warmer weather.

I found out that through the years of gardening on my own, gleaning information from my friends & loved ones, I'm not quite as dumb as I thought I was! I did learn a lot from listening to Betty & Greg & was so glad we weathered the cold temperatures for a delightful day!

And I did learn about daffodil winter. Thanks MaryAnn for inviting me! We'll be back for another load when the weather warms...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Tag...I'm it!

Well..It looks like I got caught. Thanks a lot, Peggy! :)

Here it goes....( I live a boring life!)

What was I doing 10 years ago?

I was a 49 year old, had been married for 30 years, had a married daughter, a son still living at home, & no grandchildren! Wow! That seems like ages ago...I can't remember anything earth shattering happening.

Things to do today:

The day is almost over so I'll tell you what I did--

Got up in time to get a roast dinner going before leaving for church
Went to Sunday School & Church Service
Had our son, daughter & their families for Sunday dinner
Helped clean up the kitchen
Rested with Paige napping on my lap
Went back for Evening Church Service
Came home & talked on the phone!
Finishing cleaning my kitchen
Now reading blogs before heading for bed

Snacks I enjoy:

I love chocolate! Any kind of milk chocolate, preferably with nuts
Trail mix
Not much of a chip eater

If I were a billionaire I would:

Give genereously to my church &, Bible Schools & Missions
Invest for my grandchildrens future
Buy my kids the house of their dreams
Redo my kitchen!
Buy a condo in sunny California (for my get away place)
Give genereously to my brother & sister so we can all retire to the Ozarks!
Take my kids, grandkids, brother, sister & gang to Hawaii for a fabulous vacation!!!
(I wouldn't be a billionaire for long...)

Bad habits I have:

Not eating healthy...
Starting too many projects at once & not finishing them
Give advise out too freely to my family :(
Staying up too late at night
Take on more obligations than I can handle

Some places I have lived:

Hallsville, Missouri...my home town
dorm at KCCBS-Overland Park, Kansas for 3 years
home at Overland Park when my parents moved there--1 year
4-plex apartment with Bob when we were newlyweds--10 months
new 2 bedroom house in Overland Park--about 5 years
Edinburgh, Indiana--5 years
Columbus, Indiana--been in same house since 1979

Jobs I have had:

During dorm years I did babysitting--for .50cents an hour!--ironing & house cleaning for $1.25 an hour--worked about half of my tuition by scraping dishes in the school kitchen (Yuck!)

Worked in Collections for J C Penney & Montgomery Ward

Worked (& got paid!) for Bob in our construction business painting, staining, varnishing, & doing final cleaning on the houses.

Have done our office work/bill paying for our business for years. Also do the business end of Bob's treasurer job for our church (thanks a lot Bob!)

And am now the babysitter/care provider part time for our grandchildren. Not time for much else these days.

5 People I want to Know more about...

I think about everyone has been tagged

Sherry...& I'll see who else.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Memories of Springtime in the Carolinas

Dad had heard me talk about wanting to go to the Biltmore Estate so much, he finally insisted that Bob take me & made plans to go along with us. But Bob was busy that spring & it just so happened that my sister, Carol, was able to go . It was our first "sister" trip...just us, with Dad tagging along, staying in his own hotel room.

April, 2004 must have been the perfect Spring! As we traveled south from Indiana into Kentucky & Tennessee, we saw the hillsides blooming with redbuds, forsythia & dogwood trees, along with some others we weren't just sure what they were. It was a beautiful drive. Carol & I had the best time visiting, Dad doing a little back seat driving & adding quite a few colorful comments to our conversations.

Thankfully we made a stop near Knoxville to see Carol's "in-laws". We enjoyed a visit with Ralph & Jean, took a walk in the woods to see some wildflowers in bloom, and sipped sweet iced tea on their front porch. It was a short visit but I'm so glad we made it. We had no idea that in just a few short months Ralph's journey on this earth would be over & that was the last time Dad & I would see him.
Dad & The Wheelers, Ralph & Jean

We drove on to Asheville to spend two nights. Dad wasn't feeling well enough to do all of the walking that it takes to do the Biltmore tour. He insisted that Carol & I go off & enjoy ourselves, & that we did! The tour of the Biltmore House was awesome. No photography is allowed inside the house...so you will just have to make the visit yourself!

I think God must have painted the grounds for us to explore! It was gorgeous. The tulips were in full bloom, along with azaleas, dogwoods, redbuds, and many more springtime flowers. It hadn't been quite a year since we had lost our Mother, & I think this was a time of healing for Carol & me. Just a time to spend together, talking about the past, making memories, & enjoying the splendor of springtime in Asheville.

We giggled like teenagers in our room at night. We shed quite a few tears as we talked of Mom, of her ordeal with cancer, and how we didn't think we would make it without her. We laughed at silly things. We shared our heartaches but also talked of our families and how good life really could be. We celebrated Dad's 80th birthday with a steak dinner & shared a dessert brought to him by our waiter. We even got Dad to laugh for us as we were taking his picture...a miracle in itself! Dad could not have given us another gift that would have been more appropriate than this special vacataion time we had together.

Sisters on the azaelea garden pathway
Little did we know what the months ahead held for us. Carol lost her father-in-law in August. Dad had gone through open heart surgery shortly after Mom's passing and never was the same. His lifetime was also coming to a close...but we didn't know it at that time. We lost him in September.

Spring has always been my favorite season of the year. I love to see everything burst forth in new life. And now it brings back memories of our wonderful trip to North Carolina.

But that is not the end of our journey. This trip also went up the Blue Ridge Parkway for a visit with our dear Aunt Fern, Dad's oldest sister. I think I'll leave that story for another day...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

For Mom...

Thank you, Wheelers, for taking care of the flowers for Mom's birthday.

Thank you, Garry, for shining up the marker. It looks like new! And for pulling back the grass & edging...

Thank you, Carol, for the new sun catcher & beautiful flowers!

And thank you, Kelcie, Kylie & Jake for being there & caring! Grandma would be so proud.


Auntie Sheila

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Mom's Birthday...

Today would have been our Mother's 83rd birthday.
She has been gone for almost 5 years now, which seems almost impossible at times. I still find myself wanting to pick up the phone just to tell her something special that has happened. Not a day goes by that she isn't with me in my thoughts at some point, and most days her name comes up in our conversations.

Family was what mattered to her most, other than her love for her Saviour. She loved her husband & children & grandchildren deeply, along with her immediate family. Some of her happiest days were when we were all home for a holiday celebration & she was busy in the kitchen, fixing our favorite dishes. She was a wonderful cook, excellent home maker,& gracious hostess. If she knew there was something you especially enjoyed, she would be sure & have it to serve to you in her home.
Mom also loved her church & the church family. She made special friends with a couple of ladies in the church that were not very out going & needed a friend. She was always there to help others, in her own quiet way.
Happy Birthday in Heaven, Mom! We miss you so much, but then I think that you are no longer suffering and would never ask you to come back. You will be in our hearts forever...

"Forever Springtime"
by The Bishops

Springtime was her favorite time of year
She loved to see the pretty flowers bloom
And every day she whispered "thank you, Lord"
Cause she could see them from the window in her room
Now and again, her children come to see her
But not as often as she would have liked
Her smile was like a golden ray of sunshine
She was living in the winter of her life.
The doctor said the end was drawing nearer
Her children came to sit close by her side
They whispered "Mama, is there anything
that we can do for you?"
She held their hand and this was her reply

Don't cry for me, I'm going home to see my Savior
There's a garden He's been tending just for me
Why I can almost smell the sweet perfume of roses on the vine
Dry you eyes, don't you cry
I'm just going where it is forever springtime
Promise me that one day you'll come to see me
I'll be waiting by the crystal sea
Where the tree of life is blooming, that's where you will find me
And we'll praise our Lord throughout eternity