Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Favorites: Love stories

On this last day of February, it is my joy to share this favorite with you:  My parents' love story.

Fifty years ago today, on a snowy night in Bel Air, Maryland, DeLane and Nancy became husband and wife. Their story together began years before, as they had both attended seminary at the same time, but did not date each other (everyone just knew everyone on campus). After they both moved to the northeast and began working in the Baptist Convention (Nancy in Maryland and DeLane on Long Island, NY), mutual friends did some match-making and they started a long-distance courtship which led to their engagement on December 1, 1963. I wrote more about their story in a tribute to them a couple of years ago and you can read it here.

My parents celebrated 47 years together on earth before my dad passed away in 2011. Their marriage was such an example to our family and to others, that it seems entirely appropriate to celebrate their milestone anniversary of 50 years, even though it won't be a huge party with invited guests.

My sister and I are so thankful for our parents and the love they shared and we miss our dad, as we know that Mom misses her husband. Today we're planning a "girls' night out," starting with pedicures and then treating Mom to dinner. It is a blessing to have this legacy of love and committed marriage in our family!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A glimpse at humanity

I wish I had a picture of what I'm about to describe, but words will have to suffice.

I had to stop at Kroger on my way home from work, and as I was walking through the parking lot, I overheard two people who were legally parked in the handicapped parking spaces talking about a vehicle that was parked in the large space in-between their cars (which was not a legal space). In addition, the driver had left two dogs inside the SUV.

Understandably, the drivers of the other cars were upset, especially the guy on the right of the car in the middle, because it was parked pretty close to his driver's side door. As I passed by, one man was verbally taking down the license plate of the illegally-parked car.

I went on into the store and while I started my shopping I heard an announcement over the loud speaker asking for someone with such-and-such license plate to come to the customer service desk. I figured that would be the end of that and continued my shopping.

After I had finished in the store, I walked out to the parking lot and saw that two of the cars were gone, but the one in the middle was still there AND there were three overturned grocery carts blocking the car from pulling out of the not-really-a space.

About that time, I noticed a woman alongside me pushing a cart pretty slowly and it became apparent that her car was the one that was blocked in (with her dogs in the car). I didn't know what to do, since I had my arms full of grocery bags, but I hurried and placed the bags in the car and decided to go back to help her move the carts.

By the time I got back to her, she had moved the carts . . . into one of the handicapped parking spaces! I started moving toward the carts and she smiled at me while she was backing out of her spot. I tried to tell her that nobody would be able to park there (not to mention how hard it could be for people in wheelchairs or otherwise disabled to have to move those carts), but she didn't have a clue!

I determined to take the grocery carts back where they belonged and then went on my way, shaking my head at this "fine" glimpse of humanity that I had witnessed from all three people involved.

It was a clear case of two wrongs don't make a right!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sister Saturday: Sleepover Edition

Last night, to give their parents a Valentine's date night, Erica and Mary Lane came to spend the night at my house. They had done a lot of Valentine celebrating throughout the day, so we had a low-key dinner with Grandma (pizza, salad and brownies) and played Sequence (or as Mary Lane calls it, "Animal Match Game"). After Grandma left, the girls got into their pj's and watched a video on Netflix before bedding down for the night.

The sleeping arrangements were a little source of contention, since one sister didn't want to sleep in the bed with the other and the other sister was afraid to sleep in Daniel's room because of a "scary picture" (which turned out to be a Nashville Predators banner). I got Erica down on a sleeping bag on the floor of Daniel's room and then Mary Lane had a piece of the floor in my room.

One funny Mary Lane-ism was that when we were making all these sleeping arrangements, Mary Lane got up on my bed and said she wanted to sleep on the "icing," which was my white down comforter folded at the foot of the bed. She lay down on it like that was going to work just fine, not being worried that she could easily roll off the end of the bed with one turn!

Since they were so tired from the festivities of the day, they were both asleep around 8:00pm, and we all slept pretty well all night (with the exception of Mary Lane telling me at 1:00am that she wasn't sleepy anymore). At 6:00am, Mary Lane was finished sleeping for real and got to climb up in my bed and rest/snuggle until Erica woke up around 7:00. Knowing that they would be hungry pretty quickly, we got started making pancakes.

I decided to make it even more special by offering to put food coloring in the batter, but of course, we needed to make several colors. Erica wanted blue, while Mary Lane chose pink and then purple. We also made some orange pancakes in honor of Daniel at UT! The girls had fun stirring and watching the pancakes cook before eating them enthusiastically!

I knew that Jeanette and Russell were coming at 9:00am, so I had the girls get dressed and they let me "fix" their hair (as best as the mom of a son can do). Netflix was then the activity of choice, although Mary Lane had some other ideas to play as well.

It was a fun time and we will do it again soon!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Favorites: Valentine's Day

I have said it before on this blog, but I really love Valentine's Day! I realize how much the greeting card and candy companies (among many others) capitalize on the romance aspect of the holiday, but my reasons for loving February 14 go deeper than sappy sentiment.

So here are my Top Ten Reasons Why I Love Valentine's Day:

10. I got engaged on Valentine's Day back in 1991.

9. I am a February Baby, so naturally, I love things that happen this month.

8. I love to make and send personal cards and notes to my family and friends.

7. I love the colors that are associated with Valentine's Day:  Red and Pink

6. I love candy. And I like that candy is 50-75% off the day after Valentine's Day!

5. I think it's fun to buy/make/eat heart-shaped pizza and other foods.

Tonight's dinner, ready to go in the oven!

4. It warms my heart to hear about the ways that others share their love on this day. From special doughnut breakfasts to singing telegrams, those stories always make me smile.

3. I love getting to spend time with my nieces on Valentine's Day while their parents go on a date. Tonight we're having a Valentine's Sleep-over at Aunt Nette's (heart-shaped pizza is on the menu)!

2. The first time I felt my baby flutter inside me happened on Valentine's Day.

1. My parents, especially my dad, gave me such a great example of saying "I love you" all year long, and he always made sure that Valentine's Day was special in our house.

This morning, Mom and I were remembering how thoughtful Dad was to his girls on Valentine's Day. There was always a little treat and handmade card waiting for us at our breakfast plate. She commented that he usually stayed up late to make our cards after we'd been to bed (including herself). I smile when I think of those little cut-out hearts with simple words of love written on them. It didn't take an elaborate gift for me to grow up knowing that I was loved and cherished by my dad and mom.

This morning in the devotional book, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, one of the verses to read was Isaiah 41:13:

"For I, the Lord your God,
    hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, 'Fear not,
    I am the one who helps you.'"

It was a sweet reminder that even though I could be bitter about some things in my life on Valentine's Day, God has always been holding my hand and shows me that His love is greater and deeper than anything this earth has to offer!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Happily Ever After Pampered Chef Story

Once upon a time, a woman was invited to a Pampered Chef party. It had been a while since she had gone to one of those, and since she liked when others came to her parties, she accepted the invitation.

The day came for the party and it was a Sunday afternoon and the woman had other stuff she needed to do, and there were storm warnings in the area, but she honored her commitment and went to the party. It was a typical home-demonstration party, with friends and food and games. One of the games was clearly explained that there were three types of prizes you could roll a dice to win:  a GRAND prize, a merchandise prize, or you got the "prize" of booking a party of your own. Well, the woman played the game, in hopes of winning the GRAND prize or a merchandise prize, but alas, she "won" the privilege of booking a party of her own!

The time came to plan her party and the woman chose a date. She invited a lot of people and even told some out-of-town friends that they could order online. The RSVPs slowly came in and so did the online orders. The theme of the party was "Soup and Slippers" and the day of the party was a cold day, so it was perfect. Several friends came wearing their slippers and a fun time was had making and eating the soup.

The consultant was working on closing the party sales out and let the woman know what her hostess credits would be (it was a bonus month of double points for hostess credits). Some last-minute orders trickled in and the consultant and the woman were blown away when the sales hit the top of the chart!

After all was said and done, the woman was able to get lots of free products, lots more than the GRAND prize from the game would have been!

The woman was so thankful for the generosity of her friends, who bought things they wanted and could use. Even though the woman realized that she might have to actually cook more now, she lived happily ever after with her new Pampered Chef goodies!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Favorites: Hot Tea & Birthday Love

I recently made a "life-changing" purchase at Wal-Mart. I bought an electric tea kettle for $12.97!
You're thinking, "Yeah, so what?," but it has become one of my new favorite things! That little teapot can heat up water fast and I don't have to hear it whistle and it shuts off automatically. Life changing, I'm telling you!

But my even newer favorite thing that I received for my birthday this week was a new mug and mug cozy that was personally knitted for me by knitter extraordinaire, Leanne Goddard! She picked out a mug that she knew I'd love, with red and pink hearts, and then added her own special touch with the monogrammed mug cozy! I love it and appreciate her thoughtfulness in knowing exactly what I'd like. And she included some gingerbread tea bags to go with it. I smile every time I look at it!

And, it's been really nice to have some extra warmth on these cold, winter days!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Birthday Fun!

I celebrated a birthday this week and my big request from my family was for us all to take a road trip to Knoxville so we could include Daniel in our celebrations.

After getting a late start because of my car repair hiccup (I'll save that for another post or just try to get over it), we got to enjoy a beautiful day in Knoxville and some fun family time together. I am so thankful for my awesome family and the love that they show me 365 days a year!

It was fun to find a playground for the girls to get out some energy and Daniel had a great time giving his "nickle tour" of his dorm and music building (the two main places on campus where he spends his time).

We also got to experience a place where Knoxville natives love to eat:  Litton's Market and Restaurant. They have delicious burgers and we all tried the Key Lime Pie. After talking with some friends who used to live in Knoxville, I want to go back and sample some of the other desserts, too!

Like I said, it was a quick trip, so I was back in Nashville and had a pretty typical day on Monday, my actual birthday. It was fun to get lots of Facebook birthday wishes and to have some birthday cards and packages waiting for me when I got home. And then my sweet friend, Rhesa, and her girls, Rebekah and Rachel, took me out to dinner. We had a fun time catching up and having some "girl time" together at Chili's.

I am blessed to have such a wonderful family and friends around me who help me celebrate each year of life!