Friday’s Fave Five #70

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

Family time We celebrated daughter # 3’s birthday this week. As we were gathered around the table the topic drifted to hair.

“Do you remember when we were kids and I thought since mom’s razor was just for legs that nothing would happen when I ran it down my arm hair from shoulder to wrist?” “My arm itched like crazy the next day!”

“Yeah, and I wondered what would happen when I swiped it across my forehead and was shocked when I looked in the mirror and saw I was missing an eyebrow, and then tried to arrange my bangs so no one would notice.”

And the time when as a three-year-old, the birthday girl “borrowed” mom’s scissors, opened them widely and, placing the blades flat on her forehead right at her hairline, cut a perfect V in her bangs all the way to the scalp.

When “someone” turned on the gas grill on without opening the lid, waited a few minutes, then opened it and threw in a match. After the “whoosh,” her once straight hair was singed and curly.

Ah, memories! We laughed so hard tears were streaming down our faces.

A new RN Daughter #4 passed her NCLEX nursing exam and is now officially an RN. My father-in-law was a physician and my mother-in-law a nurse and perhaps hoped that some of their children or grandchildren would follow the medical route, but until now, none did. We have plenty of doctors in the family, but none of the medical variety. And now we have a nurse!

Remembrance Day Today is Remembrance Day in Canada (Veterans Day in the US.) When we first moved to Canada almost 30 years ago I remember being impressed at how seriously Canadians commemorate Remembrance Day. Red paper poppies are purchased to help support our war veterans and worn in the lapels of young and old. Schools hold assemblies to educate and solemnly recall the sacrifices others have made. Urban, suburban, exurban, and rural communities all suspend normal activities at 11 a.m. on November 11th to reflect, remember and give thanks. Wreaths are laid at cenotaphs throughout the land and those who fought for the freedoms and rights of our country are honored. The poem, “In Flanders Fields” is quoted and the phrase “Lest we forget” is repeated and tweeted throughout the day. (“Lest we forget” is quoted from an 1897 poem, “Recessional” by Rudyard Kipling and was likely inspired by the passages in Deuteronomy 4 and 6.)

Thank you to all who have served. Lest we forget. Lest we forget.

African violets My mom was a gardener par excellence. She loved growing flowers, but especially enjoyed nurturing and growing African violets. We had a small kitchen and no dining room so the table was pushed up against the exterior wall of the kitchen under a very large picture window. My dad built three or four shelves across that north-facing window and there mom tended her many African violet plants.

Until very recently I have been known as the botanical equivalent of the Angel of Death. I love flowers, but my heart would sink when anyone gave me a living plant. I knew they had just passed the death sentence on that lovely bit of nature. My family all joked about it. My husband would shake his head and ask, “How long do you think this one will last?”

But when we moved from Calgary to Edmonton seven years ago something changed. Some might even call it a miracle of sorts; I no longer automatically made plants die! First, my husband built me raised planters and encouraged me to start an herb garden as part of my post-surgical therapy. I was extremely skeptical, but to my absolute shock, not only did my plants survive, they thrived.

Indoor plants were still iffy. But somehow, over these past few years, I have two African violet plants that have done very well. I watched them grow and prosper and I remembered Mom. I remembered Mom transplanting hers when they outgrew the pot. I remember her trimming off the flowers when they wilted, and pinching off broken or damaged leaves. I remember her fertilizing the plants, gently brushing the dust off the leaves, and carefully avoiding getting the leaves wet when she watered her violets. I even remember her talking to her plants, and boy, did we ever tease her about that!

My African violets are outgrowing their latest pots and need something now, and I’m not certain what. Sure, I can google it or call a garden center or ask around, but I really, really, wish I could ask my mom. Not only would she have told me the right thing to do for my plants, she would have been proud and probably amazed that I haven’t killed these violets, and may even be developing a green thumb!

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Cards and Photos Here are some more cards I made this week when I had to lay low and be quiet. The photos are from various photography opportunities over the past month.

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Lake Louise

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Banff National Park elk

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Quiet abandon

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Splendor

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Majesty

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Canadian Rockies

 

Fragrant Fragments: Memories of a Godly Mother-in-law

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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.