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Susanne hosts Living to Tell the Story and encourages others to share blessings of the week on Fridays. Here are a few of mine from the past few weeks.

We’ve been traveling for much of the past three weeks. We had many blessings during our time away so I’ll share a few of them here.

1. Conference We attended a conference in North Carolina for our mission organization. It truly was a blessing to reconnect with old friends and make new friends during the conference.

2. Beach After the conference was over we headed to the beach for a week. My husband grew up on the South Carolina coast and was longing for some time in the ocean. We had a week full of fun and interesting experiences, though the ocean is not my best friend right now. Want to know why?  I shared my story on Facebook and will repost it on my blog in a day or two.

Boardwalk at Holden Beach

The mighty Atlantic

Holden Beach, NC

3. Family How wonderful to spend time with family and old friends! My husband and his three siblings were together for a few hours one evening and three of them spent time together later in the week. Nieces, nephews, and some of their children made time to see us and long-time friends made a point of touching base with us throughout our stay.

Three of four siblings

4. Southern food There’s just something about southern food that is special. This northerner picked up a few favorites years ago during my fifteen-year sojourn in South Carolina so it was fun to return and taste the cuisine again. Sweet tea, shrimp and grits, scallops and crab, various styles of barbecue, fresh, juicy peaches, and even black raspberry jam (a favorite from my growing-up days in Ohio) plus some interesting new gluten free items were all culinary highlights of our trip.

5. Garden Leaving for the States a few days after Victoria Day meant I had to scurry to get my garden in before our trip. Our daughters kept an eye on things for me and I returned to thriving herbs and kale with the promise of peas, carrots, beans and squash later this summer. Oh, and the flowers my husband planted are doing well too.

Cheerful pansies

Lovely lavender

Fresh kale

Here are a couple more pictures from our trip. If you use any of my photos, please credit Deborah Talbert or purplegrandma.com. Thanks!

North Carolina forest

Interesting evergreen

Hope you had many blessings to be thankful for this week!

 

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FFF spring

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

1. Our ladies’ retreat last weekend was a blessing. It was lovely to spend time with friends from various churches in Alberta and Saskatchewan, to be encouraged in the Word, and to enjoy warm weather in a camp setting.

2. My daughters and son-in-law prepared a nice Mother’s Day dinner, which we celebrated together on Monday night. I cherish time we can spend together as a family.

Because of that warm weather I caved in and planted my seedlings early this year. The rule of thumb in our area is not to plant until the Victoria Day weekend (a week before Memorial Day for my Stateside friends.) Then we had an unexpected night of frost, and all my plants perished. Ah well, back to the drawing board!

3. We purchased our home in the winter so I was absolutely delighted to find dark purple lilacs bloom the first spring we were in this house. Due to the exceptionally warm weather, they have bloomed early this year. I really love the dark purple variety!

Beautiful dark purple lilacs

Beautiful dark purple lilacs

Purple lilacs

Purple lilacs

4. I have not been feeling well and consulted my doctor this week. She is supportive, encouraging, and gives me latitude to work on my health concerns in non-traditional ways. I really appreciate her.

5. My youngest daughter accompanied me to the ladies’ retreat and helped me tend the book table I set up each year at the retreat. I talked in to driving home the back way so I could look for some rural scenes to photograph. I got us lost for a while but we had a good chat and I found a few things to photograph. It was precious time spent with one of my children.

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Weathered

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Beyond the fence

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Rural charm

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Sunset sky

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It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

1. This week we were able to enjoy the fellowship of a family temporarily here until their immigration papers come through to serve in ministry elsewhere. It was a blessing to get to know them a little this week. We’ve also had a fellow minister and occasional teacher at the college staying with us this week. He is a blessing to our family in every way and we always enjoy having him in our home.

2.Freshly returned from their honeymoon to Rome, our daughter and son-in-law regaled us with stories of their travels and explorations of the City of the Seven Hills at our weekly family night dinner. It was so much fun to discuss special places we discovered on our visit there a few years ago and learn what’s the same and what has changed.

3.This week I began rereading some of my missionary biography collection. I was looking to source a quotation which I thought was from Amy Carmichael’s God’s Missionary and ended up reading the whole thing. It’s a booklet, so not hard or long to read, but Amy Carmichael’s writing tends to be introspective and somewhat mystical so it requires some contemplation, evaluation, and simplification when reading her works. I did not find the quote I was looking for so began perusing Elisabeth Elliot’s work on Amy Carmichael, A Chance to Die. Still haven’t found my quote, but I shall persevere! (Ahem * Grumpy Grammar Lady reminds you that this word is pronounced “per-se-vere.” Do not be bamboozled, hornswoggled, or flimflammed into saying “per-ser-vere.” There is no ‘r’ in the second syllable of persevere. But I digress…)

4.Someday some smart researcher will be able to definitively explain why cloudy days and stormy weather make some of us ache physically (my arthritis and fibromyalgia yell at me when it’s cloudy outside!) or feel down mentally. We’ve had a few of those days this week. I am grateful for every clear and sunny day and the positive influence they have on my outlook. More sunny days coming! Sunday is the first day of Spring.

5.I am grateful for brothers and sisters in Christ who willingly discuss thorny theological issues and controversial topics without judgement, but with an understanding that our mutual goal in any such discussion is to be made more conformed to the image of Christ.

I didn’t get much photography practice this week, but did get a few gloomy day pics of rural Alberta on Saturday.

Near Beaumont 2 Near Beaumont 5 Near Beaumont 7

What were some of your blessings this week?

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FFF daisies

Friday’s Fave Five is hosted by Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story and encourages us to put in writing five blessings from the week.

1. I have not posted for several weeks. Why? So I could spend as much time as possible with these two!  We had a wonderful summer. I was feeling much better than I did last summer, and was able to be more interactive with my grandchildren. Since next summer should be post hip replacement, maybe I can even be more active with them!

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2. My herb garden is winding down. It brought me lots of pleasure thus summer, though not quite like I expected.  It was an herb and vegetable garden, but the zucchini corporate takeover took out my kale, and a mighty wind storm took out my zucchini it all its golden glory (I planted yellow zucchini.)  The entire crown of the plant with its broad, bristly leaves and five golden fingers of zucchini-to-be ended up on the deck.  The plant never recovered. I planted ten peas and only two came up and my green beans elbowed the zucchini for sunlight before the demise of the squash.  Next year my husband is making me a second planter so I have veggies in one and herbs in the other!

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3. I am grateful for the wonderful privilege of having all five of my children together in one place for a few weeks each summer.  Our house was loud and messy, full of comings and goings, laughter and tears, discussions and debates.  We do Christmas in July (well…August this year) complete with holiday dishes, decorations, Christmas crackers (and the antics that go along with the hats and prizes), and Christmas readings. The China-based part of the family has left us until next year.DSC09573

4. Watching college football with my husband is one of my favorite pastimes. It’s that time of year and he is actually able to take a day off each week (well, most weeks) after years of having a too-heavy workload to do this.  I have one thing to say about college football:  Go Buckeyes!!

5. No word yet on my surgery date.  My first hip replacement was 8 years ago this December.  I am praying that I can have this one done before the snow comes since ice and snow hinder my mobility and make walking around on crutches or with a walker a little more tricky. Good news:  I am much more mobile this time than I was before the last surgery.  I’m very grateful for that!

 

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FFF daisies

On Fridays we stop to recount a few blessings from the week.  I have found it to be a wonderful exercise in gratitude, and it forces me to think grateful thoughts, even if it’s been a discouraging week.  Thanks to Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story  for hosting this!

1. Encouraging kids Is it ok to brag a little about your kids?  I say yes, when they have accomplished some impressive feats.

Our family members have always had weight issues, and our oldest daughter recently underwent bariatric surgery, a procedure called sleeve surgery.  She followed pre-op instructions carefully, had the surgery, and has stayed within her post-surgical restrictions.  As of today she has lost 110 pounds.  Our second daughter has combined an Atkins and exercise approach and has lost over 50 pounds.  Our third daughter, who has type 1 insulin dependent diabetes, has been using the exercise room at her work as well as watching what she eats and has lost over 20 pounds.  After sorting out my low thyroid issues I am now down 27 pounds.  My daughters have inspired me and help me stay on track.  And that is a huge, huge blessing!

2. My crazy raised garden I’m not sure why I find this so humorous, but one side of the bottom of my raised bed herb garden gave way after a few days of torrential rain last week.  I currently have the sinking garden of Beaumont on one end of the planter and a giant corporate zucchini take-over of the planter on the other.  Every time I look at it, I laugh.  My husband and son are kindly planning to rebuild it on Monday and all of the plants will have to be moved.  I am hopeful that they will all survive the transplanting.

3. Home for the summer I cannot completely express how wonderful it is to have most of my family here near us this summer.  The noise and fun factors both will increase when our daughter-in-law and grandchildren arrive at the end of the month (they are enjoying sibling and cousin time with my daughter-in-law’s side of the family for the next couple of weeks!)

4. Powerful thunderstorms We had some doozy thunderstorms overnight a couple of times this past week.  I am always amazed at the majesty and raw power of these displays.  It reminds me of our days in South Carolina when we would gather on the front porch and watch thunderstorms.  My husband used to tell the children it was God talking. (There are quite a few biblical references to God’s voice thundering.  A few of these are in Job 37 and 40, Psalm 18 and 29, and Revelation 19.)

5.  Yummy quiche My youngest daughter made me a crustless quiche for dinner.  It was delicious!  It’s always satisfying to try new foods (or re-introduce foods into my diet) that don’t make me sick.

Have a blessed week!

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FFF tulips

Sharing blessings causes us to stop and remember all the Lord is doing for us even in the midst of trying weeks.  Here are some highlights from my week:

1. Holding a newborn baby There is nothing quite like holding a newborn baby, a helpless bit of humanity less than 24 hours old.  This sweet little boy has three older and very attentive sisters, and loving parents.  As I held him his wee little eyes would open just a slit then slowly shut again as he drifted back into sleep.  Precious!

2. Memories of my mother The little one mentioned above was born on my mother’s birthday.  I have been reflecting on my mother and her impact on my life.  We had a close relationship but there are many things I wish I had asked her about her childhood, family history, and especially the family photo album.  Who are all of these people pictured and how did they touch your life?  Makes me more thoughtful about labeling my photos and telling my kids about my childhood.

3. Kitchen herbs I bought little pots of thyme and oregano at the grocery store this week.  I can use them in my weekly recipe of soup and, if I defy all my past history, can nurture them along until planting time, which around here is mid-May at the earliest.

4. The Mind’s Eye recordings  My husband found some recordings online from The Mind’s Eye, a group of audio recording artists from the 80’s.  We used to own several cassette series dramatized by this group and they were very, very good.  We would listen as we traveled and our kids loved to hear the tapes over and over again. This week Bud and I have been listening to their dramatization of The Hobbit. They’re as good as I remember!

5. My family – photos from China My son, who lives and teaches in China, posted some beautiful pictures of the family this week.  My youngest daughter is enrolled in the nursing program our son oversees.  In just a few short months my son, his wife, their two kids and my youngest daughter will be home for the annual monthly visit.  I am eagerly anticipating that time together as a family!

April 2014 24 april 2014 25 April 2014 21 April 2014 11 April 2014 2

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Mama T 001

Better Late than Never?

When Mama passed away in 2008 I was honored to give a eulogy at her memorial service. I rewrote that eulogy to post for Mother’s Day this May…..and somehow never published it on my blog.  Sigh.  Even though it’s later than I intended, I hope you’ll enjoy a glimpse into the life of a wonderful woman.

The Blessing of a Godly Mother-in-law

I was doubly-blessed to have a mother who loved and served God whole-heartedly as well as a mother-in-law who was equally as godly.  Since I recently wrote about my mother I’d like to honor my wonderful mother-in-law, Jean Talbert, this Mother’s Day.

A Lovely Lady

My mother-in-law was a lovely lady, refined and cultured with an interest in the arts and music.  She loved to play the piano and listen to classical music – interests passed down to her children and grandchildren.  Mom shared a house with Bud and me for a couple of years in the early 1980’s.  It could have been a sticky arrangement, but it wasn’t due to Mama’s wisdom and graciousness. “Mama”, as she liked us to call her, was extremely hospitable, and loved to cook for and entertain her friends and family.  She had particular delight in hosting the Lord’s servants, whether for a meal or overnight in her home.

 Mama as a Nurse

Mom’s training as an RN showed up frequently.  Every bump, scrape, and bruise was a hematoma, abrasion, or contusion while a hint of indigestion was always dyspepsia.  When she began spouting medical terms we lovingly called her “Hematoma mama.” In order to become a nursing instructor at a Christian college Mom had to return to upgrade her education while in her mid-fifties.  She was an intelligent woman with a keen mind and was grateful for the opportunity of teaching nursing from a Christian perspective.

 Mama Was Never Boring!

Years ago when Bud was on a study tour in Israel, Mom drove with me to my parents’ home in Ohio.  While taking her daily walk she “made friends” with some neighborhood ducks.  The next day she took along a few slices of bread for her waddling buddies.  A local photographer driving by was enchanted by this delightful woman peeking out from behind a tree to feed the ducks.  Mom’s whimsical pose made the front page of our local newspaper!

Granny Loved Her Grandchildren

Mama dearly loved being Granny to her grandchildren.  She had a marvelous sense of humor and a deep throaty laugh.  We could occasionally wheedle her into barking and clapping like a seal which delighted and amazed her grandchildren.  Granny often told the grandkids stories about her own childhood.  She described how she and her sisters used to have burping contests then promptly taught her enthusiastic audience how to burp loudly too! An avid reader, Mom appreciated quality writing and had a particular fondness for missionary biographies. Dubbed by the grandchildren as the “Book Granny,” Mama used special occasions to buy brightly illustrated, charming books that our kids loved reading over and over.

 A Godly Example

But more than anything else Mom loved the Lord and spoke of Him and to Him throughout her day. Her well-marked Bible and detailed prayer lists were indications of a vital and personal walk with Lord.  She was a prayer warrior, particularly for her children and their families. We felt the loss of those prayers when Alzheimer’s prevented her from interceding for us. Proverbs 31:28 reminds us, “Her children rise up and call her blessed.”  We were very blessed to have Mama as mother, mother-in-law and grandmother. Mom Talbert blessed her family by her intelligence, humor, love, and godliness.  Mama, we miss you and look forward to being reunited with you in heaven someday.  Thank you for the godly example you left us.

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