Monday, November 29, 2010

Anticipation and dread

The difference between anticipation and dread is quite simple. Anticipation is full of known variables leading to a probable positive outcome. Dread is the anticipation of undesirable factors leading to either an uncontrolled negative conclusion or a known negative process necessary to arrive at a positive conclusion. OK, so where am I going with this?

Richard and I anticipate a wonderful short visit with our German son-in-law in less than two weeks. However, we dread the trip to Seattle. The roads are icy and long, making this trip stressful. I have a very short list of items requested by Amy that Juergen will either take home with him or enjoy while in Seattle. So today while I have nothing else on my schedule, I will try to find used Dr. Suese books from the Goodwill and masa harina from Winco. I also am taking some hand-carved camels made of olive wood in Jordan (found among Christmas decorations I am sorting) and an American apple pie to Seattle. Juergen loves apple pie and though Germany has wonderful pastries, you can't get apple pie there.

Since we will be going very close to Bridget's, we will try to see her family too. I have some things for her and her kids, as well. We anticipate that Rick and his family will be in Oregon at Christmas time. Not sure if they will be here on Christmas day, but certainly sometime around the holiday. But we will also see them while in Washington.

Looks like a month of travel (dread) and celebration (anticipation) for us. We dread the fast pace but anticipate a wonderful time spent with loved ones. So it all begins.

It was nice to see Lissa, Nate and Charlie at church yesterday, even though briefly. It was also nice to have friends over for dinner and an afternoon spent just kicking back with folks who share the same values and concerns. What with all the health issues over the past few years, we haven't done this nearly as often as we would like. It was very relaxing, I made sure it would be. I made sure the floors were swept and the bathroom was clean then just put a roast in the oven before church. Aside from that, no stressing out about a cluttered desk or planning special activities. No wondering if we had the right napkins to match the dishes or if the cider was right to go with the meat. I just pulled some things off the shelf and out of the freezer. We enjoyed what the Lord provided. He always privides our needs. It was really a good time had by all. We anticipate doing this sort of entertaining more often in the future. As for our guests, they are about to enter into health related concerns of their own. He is scheduled for knee replacement surgery on December 6, so will be spending most of this Christmas season stuck at home. While they dread the process, they anticipate a good result. We anticipate visiting them there during his long recovery. Maybe we can take with us a little Christmas cheer to brighten their imposed isolation.

We also received a call from our oldest granddaughter yesterday. She wanted to let us know that she had received the package I had sent last week. She was thrilled to have the afghan she used as a baby, some family artifacts and items for her upcoming wedding. She had questions about the family tree and about some of the artifacts. She expressed an interest in knowing more about individuals and the family in general. Since other grandchildren have also expressed a similar interest, I anticipate putting together a book of sorts for all my grandchildren with this information. But not until I finish going through all those boxes in the basement. I could get very distracted without even trying.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

There was more than frost on these pumpkins. We got about an inch of snow on Monday night. The temperature was in the 20s.
With it came the need to scrape windows and de-ice the steps and ramp. But only a little snow stayed around for Thanksgiving. It is warmer too, in the 30s.

Thanksgiving came with all it's color, enticing smells, and flavors. Just not all the quantity of years gone by (No bread or pie). Both good and good for us.

Turkey (no dressing)
Mashed potatoes and gravy (made with corn starch)
Baked winter squash
Fresh broccoli
Cranberry sauce
Black olives
Sparkling cider

No gluten and we really didn't miss it. We will have pumpkin soup for dinner and some pineapple sherbet for desert. All very satisfying. A meal for two, with leftovers for a couple more meals. The Lord has truly blessed us this year. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

White Christmas?

It snowed about an inch night before last. A blast of arctic cold has kept the snow from melting. But it is Thanksgiving tom arrow, not Christmas. Richard and I need to go out this afternoon for a physical therapy appointment up on the "hill". I have no doubt the roads, especially those to the hospital, have been well sanded. But just getting down the ramp to the car will be the biggest challenge. I went out and sprinkled rock salt on the ramp, the front steps (for the mail carrier), and on the front walk way. We will see. I really don't want to cancel. Richard doesn't have another session scheduled until a week from now and it really does help with flexibility. This is true especially when the cold affects his arthritic joints so badly.

The temperature is supposed to modify by tom arrow. We may even get a little rain. That will take care of any remaining ice and snow. It will also make the roads safer for all those folks going to grandma's house for Thanksgiving. Dianna called. Paul is on his way north from California and is expected to join her for the meal. They will meet at Paul's brother's home in Eugene. I am so very glad for this gathering. Paul's family has been through a lot of difficulties in the last few years. They need each other's support.

Richard and I will be spending the day alone, unless someone wants to join us. We can always make room at our table for a few more. We have much to be thankful for:
  • A loving family
  • Improving health
  • A warm home with no mortgage
  • Plenty to eat
  • No indebtedness
  • Good insurance and
  • A car in good running order
Our Lord Jesus is faithful to provide all our needs. We are truly blessed. So as we celebrate Thanksgiving and enter into the Christmas season, we look at the snow as a symbol of life. It is white and gentle as it falls, bringing with it an atmosphere of peace. Snow provides a warm blanket, protecting vegetation from the icy cold. It covers every landscape flaw just as the blood of Christ covers our sins and washes us clean. Finally, snow provides the life giving water of streams as it melts in high mountains during hot summer days. Snow is the basis of life on earth, just as Christ is our salvation for eternity. So we celebrate Christmas snow and the birth of our blessed savior. Let me be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas everyone. Will we actually have Christmas snow? What a gift that would be.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Up early, yes again

Seems that when my mind is busy I just can't sleep. So I am once again, up before the crack of dawn. I'm really going to need a nap today. What am I thinking about? Nothing and everything.

I am grateful to God that Yesterday with all the "things" going on was indeed yesterday. Richard had an appointment at 9:00 to get his eyes checked. Richards gout is flaring, so we swung by his primary physician's office for prescription. That took about an hour. Snow was forecast and my grandsons had put my studded tires in the car. So I dropped Richard off at the house, then spent some 2 hours at the tire store waiting to have the tires changed out. I got home just in time to throw together something to eat on the way to Richards 1:15 physical therapy appointment. On the way home we stopped to fill his prescription. At home I then made the rounds in anticipation of a cold night, covering outside faucets, making sure no windows were cracked open (we had company over the last few days) and that plumbing was either covered or in a warm area. The last thing we need is frozen pipes. After dinner I had just settled in when it dawned on me that today was trash pick up. So out I went to take the cans to the curb.

There is about an inch of snow on the ground this morning. The temperature was forecast to reach a low of 24 over night. I'm quite sure it came close. The snow is beautiful. No cars have yet marred the road. No pedestrians have left foot prints on the sidewalk. The cars look like mounds of marshmallow in the landscape. All is peaceful and quiet out there. I have an eye appointment today. But is not until 1:00. Richard is sensitive to cold and he does not have to go out again until tom arrow. That is good, because the ramp can get a bit slippery. The fireplace looks warm and cozy. I have home made pumpkin soup and cider. Today will be a good day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

We gather together

We gathered together yesterday for an early Thanksgiving. We, meaning Shelley and Eric and both extended families. Shelley really out did herself, as usual. The house and offerings were amazing. It was so very Martha, if you know what I mean. So much work. She is going to need to sleep for a week in order to just break even on the stress scale.

Eric's mom and dad and all five siblings, along with three spouses (and one spouses mom) and five nieces (plus one boyfriend) were there. Of course Shelley and Eric's own two daughters, their spouses and a precious grandchild were also there. It was a regular Stuewe family reunion. Let me do the math. That makes 22.

Then there were Richard and I, two more of our children and one of their spouse, and two of our other grandchildren. That makes seven Morenos (besides Shelley and her immediate family), for a total of 31(Shelley and Eric had not yet been counted). That is a lot of people in any house.

Shelley cooked up a storm. Everyone else brought food. We all ate our fill and took home enough for a couple meals besides. Four out of town family members were also staying with us. Occasions like this happen about two or three times a year. They are usually at Shelley's simply because she has the most space. But once in awhile they are here.

It is nice to go out somewhere for festivities. It is also nice to have folks over. I just enjoy getting together one in awhile, certainly not every other week though. It would wear me out and I don't recover that quickly any more. Maybe I am getting old?

I have reason to believe I am getting old. First my body has about given out. Now I wonder about my brain. I asked my sister last week if she could locate and send a digital copy of a certain old photo. In amongst the boxes of stored "stuff" I am going through. I found the photo I wanted a copy of. Sorry sis, I will send you a digital copy. I had all but forgotten that mom had given me several old photos a few years before she died.

Richard was feeling pretty good yesterday, with the exception of a sore foot. It has been bothering him for about a week now, I'm not sure what is wrong, but he can hardly bear weight on it. Guess we are both getting old. Old or not. We will continue to gather together to praise God for each other and for His many blessings as long as we are able. Have a bountiful and blessed Thanksgiving out there.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The comforts of home

Home, this simple four letter word brings different images to mind for different people. Home can be described as a special place, a town or a single house filled with those things that trigger pleasant memories of the past, or even a group of people who have traditions in common. For me it is all three. Home is Oregon, the house I have called home for nearly 40 years, the family that I love, and too many memories to wrap my mind around.

We are all most comfortable around familiar people, places, and things. The welcoming front door, a crackling fire on the hearth, background chatter of friends and loved ones, a good cup of coffee and a cushy old chair. All these evoke thoughts of what we call home.

The preparation for a big gathering fosters excitement, even when the primary feast is not at your house. It can also be stressful if we forget priorities. Ask yourself, "is the house safe? Will anyone get sick or injured from being here". If you can reasonably answer no, you're half way there. Yes, it is important to have a clean house, well relatively clean. The bathroom needs to be scrubbed. But just as important is that care be taken to make everyone feel at home. It is not really important that everything be perfect. At least I don't think so. After all, if you are too worn out to feel at ease with your guests, they will know it and be uncomfortable. So I am sweeping and mopping floors. I am cleaning bathrooms. I am making sure clean sheets are on the guest beds. I am picking up clutter. Beyond that, I don't think it really matters. Who cares if my desk isn't completely empty or that some of the boxes of stuff I am in the middle of going through are in sight in the rec-room? We will eat till we are full. We will enjoy putting our feet up and reminiscing. We will probably watch a DVD or two. Yes, we will discuss politics and religion and we will be sad when it is time to say good by.

The comforts of home will still be here the next time family or friends come round. The comforts of home are, after all, making everyone who comes through your front door feel welcome and at ease. Most of that feeling is the attitude you display. So take a deep breath. De-stress and prioritize. No one will think less of you should some of the laundry not get folded. This is home, not the Grand Ritz Hotel.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

God has blessed me

For several months now, I have been asking God to keep me from infection. You see, I had what I truly believed to be a crack in one of my brittle teeth. Why hadn't I gone to the dentist immediately? In short, money. Our car needed work. We had a huge medication bill. Money around here is tight.

My first annual annuity payment came in in early October. It covered both of those other needs, but almost nothing was left. Property taxes and 6 month's worth of car insurance were due this month. We have a savings account that annually covers those two items. So when everything else was paid, I called the dentist.

Yesterday I had a day and a half. In the morning my annual physical revealed that I am in very good health. My cholesterol is a little high, but not enough to be concerned about. Because I have reached 70, I no longer require a pap smear. Seems that the risk of cervical cancer actually diminish as you get older. That is a perk. In the afternoon, I saw my dentist. While I had visions of a root canal and cap, he could find absolutely nothing wrong with the tooth in question. Thank you Lord. We can actually pay utilities, fill the car with gas, and cover all those other routine expenses without dipping into what is left of savings. We can also take a short trip in December.

Seems our son-in-law in Germany has a conference in British Columbia the second week of December. He plans on slipping down to Seattle afterward for a couple days. Our daughter Amy went on-line and rented a vacation home for a few days. It was cheaper than a hotel and large enough for us and him. So we will be putting together a Christmas package to send home and delivering it there. Thank you Lord for you love, your provision. We are truly blessed.