Saturday, November 29, 2008


I've been tagged by my sweet little sister. Fourth picture on fourth album on my computer. Fortunately, I periodically save my pictures to a flash drive and delete them from my computer, so this one is pretty current. asked for it is!

This is my darling, yet slightly bewildered nephew, Kenny. The occasion was Father's Day 2008. My father-in-law, Fred, received "Father of the Year" at his church, and all his sons and their families surprised him by being there to see him accept his award. It was very emotional (sniff, sniff). After church we treated the F-I-L and M-I-L to Sunday dinner at their favorite restaurant. You guessed it--Sizzlin' Sirloin. Yeah, the sky's the limit when it comes to treating our parents. I don't know if Kenny's expression is a result of just having attended church for the first time this year, getting out of bed before noon on a Sunday, or "somebody tell me what the Sam Hill we're doing at a Sizzlin' Sirloin!"

So, I guess I have to tag someone else, huh? Let's see....Jeannette, Bailey, and Jessica. No cheating...find the 4th picture of the 4th album on your computer and write a blog about it.

Friday, November 28, 2008


There's just something about the holidays. Not always in a good way. This year there was some "discussion" on where the family was going to have Thanksgiving dinner. Without going into detail, it was decided that we wouldn't shake things up and just leave well enough alone. Since we are all spending Christmas with my family this year, Jeremy & Trista wanted to spend a good deal of time with her family for Thanksgiving. I'm a good sport (I think), problem. For several years now, I have cooked the traditional turkey dinner, then later in the evening, we go to Neal's folks. I usually have the same feeling after the meal...all that work for a 20 minute meal??? I mean, if I had a kitchen full of women, like I remember from the old days at home, it would be kinda fun. Even clean-up wouldn't be so bad. But to do it alone To be honest, I think the meal itself is more for me. I can be pretty traditional and set in my ways, and Thanksgiving just wouldn't be the same without turkey and dressing. Yesterday, there were three of us to eat...Neal, Jeff and me. Neal and Jeff are not traditional, nostalgic, nor are they really "into" food, per se. Sure, they both said, "that was really good, Mom." But they would have been equally happy with deer steak, biscuits and gravy. Remind me of this next year.

Jeremy and Jacob came over early in the day to help Neal find his slain deer in the woods. Jacob wanted to help me in the kitchen (maybe he'll be my reason to keep up the tradition in the future) so I agreed that he could set the table.

I've mentioned before his tendency toward perfectionism. Each piece of flatware was spaced precisely the same distance apart, and I had to re-fold one of the napkins because he said the corners didn't match up!

I'm strongly considering NOT decorating for Christmas, for several reasons.

1. It's only 3 weeks until the big day. (Again...all that work for 3 measly weeks? Then turn right around and put it all away?)
2. I'm still tired from being in the kitchen all day yesterday.
3. We have no money to buy presents. (Poor, poor me. Do you see a pattern here?)
4. We will be traveling on Christmas Day--the one bright spot--seeing all my family.
5. No one else in my family is remotely interested in Christmas decor.

Am I just being a Scrooge? Am I having a pity-party? Do I have the Holiday Blues?
Yes, yes, and yes.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesdays with Lauren

This morning went super smooth and I was running a little ahead of schedule for a nice change. I arrived at my son's house to pick up Lauren at exactly 8:30. Whoop! Whoop! Yeah me! Apparently everyone's morning didn't go like mine. Lauren was still in bed. Jeremy was still in bed. I said it was not a big deal, but Jeremy insisted he could get her ready in a hurry. Would you believe he had her dressed, hair up in a bow, and cereal bar in hand in 12 minutes flat!?! Yeah, it's just THAT important for her to spend the day with Nana.

We had lunch at Wendy's where Lauren flirted relentlessly with the manager. He asked her what her name was and she whispered shyly, "Sissy." He said all four of his daughters were "Sissy" at one time. He also thought it deserved a free chocolate frosty, which ended up on the front of her cute little shirt.

This is an all-too-typical scene at Nana's house.

After we got home I made good on a promise to let her play in the car and "drive." First she had to buckle in the stuffed puppy. Hang on little doggie, it's gonna be a rough ride!

Turning right!

Beep, beep! Come on, people, outta my way!

I just threw this picture in, 'cause I think she really looks like a Smith, here.

After I pried her out of the car, she spent a little time creating with play doh. Then when I wasn't looking she found Neal's "pipe marker" and managed to unscrew the cap, then proceeded to get red ink on her finger. "Nana, ouch, bwud! Is bweeding!"

Notice, we've thrown the cute little ice cream-stained shirt into the washer and replaced it with a more appropriate t-shirt. (She asked if it was Jeff's.)

She even had the face to go with her imaginary bleeding boo-boo. What a little actress!

I think today was the first time Lauren has noticed that there's a TV in my bedroom. She wanted me to turn it on...and could you get my blanket while your up? A little Yo Gabba Gabba (whatever that is...looked a little ghey to me) before retiring to "her" room for a long nap.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


As I was filling up my car this morning at QT, I heard yelling behind me. The woman at the pump was screaming angrily at the top of her lungs , "Shut the **** up! I'm sick of your ****! I hate you!" In the front passenger seat sat a little, blond-haired girl, I'd guess about 7 or 8 years old. The woman had to be in her 60's at least, so presumably her grandmother or maybe even great-grandmother. It was 10:30 a.m., so I don't know why the girl was not in school. Or some other safe place. My gut twisted into a gigantic knot. I wanted to scoop the little girl out of the car and take her with me. But I didn't do anything. Didn't say anything. I just got in my car, drove off, and cried. If she was physically beating the girl, would I have intervened? I'd like to think so. But the verbal abuse was just as bad. Why didn't I do anything? Truthfully, I was a little scared of the woman myself. But I'm a grown-up. I think I could've taken her. The rest of the day, I couldn't get the little blond-haired girl out of my mind. What's she doing right now? How's the rest of her day going? Does she have to hear this every day? I spent the afternoon at the mall and more than once broke down in tears for my lack of courage to stand up for her. I tried to tell Neal about it at supper, but couldn't get through it without weeping.

So my question is this. If you had been at QT this morning, what would you have done?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesdays with Lauren

Have I mentioned how brilliant my 2 yr. old graddaughter is? It's one thing to memorize A-B-C and 1-2-3. It's another to hold a grape in each hand and say, "Yook, Nana, 2 of 'em japes." Child Genius, I tell you.

After a quick lunch, Lauren was eager to play with her babies. We looked everywhere for the powder, but it has "mysteriously" disappeared.

The rest of the afternoon she slept.

Don't know how much longer we can use the crib. Jeremy said that in the middle of the night last night she got out of her bed.

But she seems content to stay in the crib today. I finally woke her up at 5:15.

Just enough time to watch a little bit of the Baby Genius DVD and eat her favorite snack before going home. Don't laugh...I figure she's so much like me she better start the high fiber diet early.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

He Blew It

...the oboe, that is. And it was beautiful. Last night I was honored to be present at Joel Foster's Senior Recital. He is graduating from East Central University with a Bachelor of Science in Instrumental Music Education degree. This recital was in partial fulfillment of the requirements for his degree. Joel was one of my first Bible class students when we moved to Sand Springs. I think he was in 5th grade. I attended one of his very first band concerts in 6th grade. He's come a long way, baby. Joel was also a part of our Mexico Mission trip last summer that created a close bond within the entire group. So three of us, Terri, Janet and I, drove the 2 hour drive to Ada last night to be a part of this important event. During an intermission we discussed our previous experiences in music. Terri played the sax, Janet the flute. I recalled playing the xylophone when I was 3.
Yeah, that's a new double chin I sporting. Hope you're all happy after telling me for years that I needed to gain weight. And what's with the chubby cheeks? I even think my nose has gotten bigger! Oh yeah....we were talking about Joel....I get side-tracked.

We teased that we only came so we could see him in a tux. And might I say, he was very debonair and shy and self-conscious at the same time. "Oh come more pictures."

This was Joel's concert, with a little help from some friends. These were the musicians that accompanied him on various pieces (or "movements" as the program labled previously mentioned, I don't pretend to know much about music).

It was a lovely evening and I'm so glad I got to be a part of it. Thank you Joel, for the invitation.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Curb Appeal...Form Follows Function

Sunday, I forced...I mean....encouraged Neal to take action on the cold house dilemma. You may remember that last year we spent a fortune on propane and I still froze. The floor was like a slab of ice. Midway through the winter, Alan educated me on the physics of air flow in the crawl space and the absolute necessity of closing off all the vents in the foundation. That helped a little. But this year I had a middle-of-the-night brainstorm to not only close the vents, but add some insulation to seal them off completely. I bought some foam insulation and got free plywood scraps from Home Depot and envisioned lining the plywood with the insulation, cut to fit the vent openings, then paint to match the house/foundation. Neal said the plywood wasn't thick enough, but I think he just didn't want to be bothered. Instead, he attached the insulation with a wire, and now I have cute pink rectangles bordering my foundation.

In the patio area outside our bedroom, he noticed there was some mortar that had crumbled away from the cinder blocks, so he neatly and discreetly stuffed those cracks with pink insulation, too.

Cute, huh?

I must say, I can already feel the difference in the temperature around my ankles. Sure hope the brown/pink combo stays in vogue.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesdays with Lauren

Another fun-filled day with Lauren, beginning with Bible Study Fellowship. Even though Lauren has only been attending since her 2nd birthday on October 4, she already recognizes the scenery as we get near the church building. When we got off the expressway and turned on Yale, she announced, "We're heeere!" As always, her teachers were so excited to see her. I don't know, maybe they act that way with all the kids. I like to think they're especially fond of Lauren. Here she is with her favorite teacher:

On the ride home, we were listening to the Baby Genius CD, 'cause Lauren is a genius you know. Good genes from her Nana. When we got to the song Ring Around the Rosy she just about jumped out of her car seat. She happily sang along with the CD and when the song was over she said, "Do it again." So I surfed through the 30 tracks while trying to keep my eyes on the road and land exactly back on track 23, which didn't happen on the first...or second...try. Of course, when the song was over she repeated, "Do it again." Again with the track surfing. This time when I surfed past it, she said, "aw shoot", and the next time, "ag gummit." Thanks to Lauren's persistence in wanting to listen to the same song ALL the way home, I discovered the RPT (repeat) button on my CD player. Yeah, Nana! I rock!!!

This afternoon, Lauren was occupied with her baby.

Mostly, the powder....

And the wet wipes...

At least my floor got a good cleaning.

Then it was on to the leather ottoman.

I would've never let my own kids get away with this.
But in Lauren's own words, "It's funny."

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Liam Update

I received this email from Dan and Kathy today. I started to forward it to those I know are following his recovery, but realized there may be other readers of my blog that might gain encouragement from reading it:

To All Who Have Loved Us,

Today, November 7th, is the two month anniversary for Liam’s fall and God has done amazing things. One may ask, “Where is God?” when things seemingly go all wrong. But I confess — no I proclaim — that we are never alone. He is always near.

Liam’s fall severely damaged his kidney, lacerated his spleen, most likely bruised his pancreas, and most definitely broke both his arms. He fell because he reached too far without really thinking about what he was doing. Falling just under 20 feet, he landed with his head inches away from life-threatening rock and concrete. He sustained no external injury.

Liam vomited the majority of his thirty-one days in the hospital – some days continuously and several times pure blood. He endured countless pokes, prods and invasive procedures, and continuously battled with the “fairness” of it all. “Why me?” “Why did I have to jump?” “It’s not fair!” His mental and emotional anguish was as hard to endure as his physical – extremely hard for a father and mother to witness. Couldn’t we have his pain?!

Liam faced death one night. Physically, he was having an anxiety attack. His body seized to point of near suffocation, and with gasping breath he said, “I feel like I’m slipping away. I don’t want to slip away.” His nurses’ quick reaction made his slipping away highly unlikely, but for Liam – and for his dad – it was a very real, emotional, and spiritual moment of reckoning. What if I die? What if he dies?

So where was God in all this? Paul says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28) Do we know?

Here’s what I know...

  1. Liam is still alive and in my life. A few inches and he could very well have been gone, physically or mentally. I believe God protected him as he fell.
  2. Liam received and is receiving excellent, knowledgeable, skilled care from the many wonderful people who give their lives everyday to help those whose lives, for however long, are going all wrong. I believe God has called these people and given them a special love in their hearts, whether they recognize Him or not.
  3. Everyday our clothes were clean, our house was clean, and there was warm food prepared, all waiting for us at home by the hands of loving brothers and sisters in Christ. I believe God was using those who would allow Him to demonstrate His love through them to tell us He was near.
  4. Get-Well-Cards, posters, letters of love and even money to cover meals and gas came almost daily. I believe with each one God was sending His message to us, “Hold on. I’ve not left you.”
  5. As the bills started coming in and thousands mounted upon thousands with no insurance to help, SoonerCare cards and promise of help from St. Francis’s charitable foundation came in the mail. I believe God has told us once again, “There is nothing too big for me.”
  6. Liam’s arms are healed. His spleen is almost completely whole again, and his kidney’s are healing ahead of schedule. I believe God has heard the thousands of prayers lifted up for Liam and answered resoundingly.
  7. Liam will one day die, and so will I. I believe because of Jesus I will see God. And I’ll be able to say thank you...for everything.

All things don’t happen because of God. Sometimes things happen because we reach too far, too sure of ourselves. But, I know that in all things God works. And I know this because I believe.

Thank you for allowing God to use you for His purpose. We have seen Him through you.

With His Love,
Dan and Kathy

Middle-Age Spread?

Okay, so I've gained a few pounds in the last 6 or 7 months. Not enough to be alarmed, but enough to make my clothes very uncomfortable, hence my new love for bulky winter clothes. I've come up with several, for this gradual expansion.

1. I am 52 years old. For some cruel reason, as you get older you have less energy and a bigger appetite. Why Lord?

2. Maybe I have a thyroid problem? Thyroid conditions do run in my family, you know.

3. The beginning of my weight gain coincides EXACTLY with the time that Neal moved home to stay. That means LESS calorie burning outdoor chores for me and MORE home-cooked meals. It also means that I don't have the intense desire to go to the gym five days a week out of sheer boredom or the need for daily human contact.

In conclusion, I think it's Neal's fault.

Yesterday I had the choice of going to the gym to work off some of these extra pounds OR shop the J.C. Penney Big Sale (emphasis mine) and buy some "more comfortable" clothes, i.e. "bigger" clothes. So I went to Penney's. In particular, I was looking for pants. Are you with me here, girls? Oh, and I needed a new bra--not because "those" had gotten bigger (another cruel's always the bottom half that expands) but because mine are getting old and worn out (not the ta-tas...the bras). When I got to the fitting room with my armful of try-ons, I realized that it was all blouses, jackets, and sweaters. Seems that even though I've outgrown my pants and skirts, I still can't shop in the grown-up stores. I'm going to have to either go to the junior department or succumb to trips to Gap or Old Navy and try to find pants that don't show your underwear and skirts that...well...don't show your underwear, to find my size. I hate those trips. I can see the wheels turning in Hannah Montana's brain as she tries to figure out why a grandma is shopping in her cool teeny-bopper store. If I have to talk to a sales person, I say things like, "I'm shopping for my daughter, and she's about my size...can I try this on?" It's really embarrassing.

Anyway...I came home with new underwear and shoes.

Friday, November 07, 2008

God Still Performs Miracles

And in a million years, you could never convince me otherwise.

In 1964, the Smiths (that's me) met the Buntings. It was a match made in heaven. Our families...well at least the grown-ups...decided that we would move from Texas to Canada, where my Dad and Bill would co-minister a church in St. Thomas, Ontario. We were so much a part of each others' lives, it was like there was no distinction between the two families. Alma was like a second mom to me, and had a tremendous influence on my "formative" years. When Neal and I got married, I wanted my Dad to walk me down the aisle, which left Bill as the natural choice to perform the ceremony. Tragically, Alma was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma last year and the disease was already Stage IV. On March 1, my birthday and Bill & Alma's 50th Wedding Anniversary, we made a trip to Texas where they now live. Alma was not good. The doctors were trying everything, but the Lymphoma was advancing quickly. I was sure this would be the last time I would see my sweet Alma.

This summer, Alma seemed to be feeling better and she and Bill made a final trip to Canada. She is originally from Canada and there were people and places she wanted to see again before she left this world.

Last week another doctor visit and more blood tests. ABSOLUTELY NO CANCER CELLS. NO SIGN OF LYMPHOMA. What an amazing and awesome God we serve! Nothing is too hard for our God. Let's shout it from the rooftops!

My Two Moms

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Stormy Night

Last night's 70 mph straight winds and quarter-sized hail pretty much took care of the last remaining leaves that were still hanging on for dear life. Probably did a number on my new roof, too. I'm afraid to look. Luckily there was plenty of advance forecasting and I had wisely parked my Pilot in the garage. The cold front that pushed the storm through left our temperatures very crisp and Fall-like this morning. I doubt we'll see 80 degrees again for several months. Now comes the battle of keeping the cold OUTSIDE and the heat INSIDE. I stocked up at Home Depot yesterday on all sorts of weather stripping and insulation. I'm determined to be cozy this winter without cashing in my IRA to buy propane.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tuesdays with Lauren

I was up early this morning. Being the patriotic, good citizen that I am, I decided to vote before picking up Lauren for Bible Study. My polling place is just a couple of miles from their house, so I gave myself 20 minutes. After all, it was after 8:00 and most early voters would already be at work, right? And for pete's sake, I live in the country, how long could the line be? Answer: Too long. I debated whether to turn around and go straight to get Lauren, or take my chances that the line would move quickly. Twenty minutes later, I'm calling Trista 'cause it's time for me to be there and I still have 20 people ahead of me! So Trista brought her to me, and she got her first taste of democracy in action. The nice lady gave her an "I Voted" sticker, which she refused to put on her clothes. No, she wanted to stick it to my ballot. To appease her, I dug through my purse and pulled out a couple of "get well" cards that I planned to mail today. She happily stuck the sticker to the back of one of the envelopes. No harm done...either Roy or David will know that I voted today. She watched as I slipped my ballot into the machine that slurped it right out of my hand. Cool. She decided to try the same thing with the "get well" cards. No, no, no, no!! Whew...that was a close one. I can see the headlines now, "Voting Comes to Halt in Oklahoma--Illegal, Under Aged Voter Sabotages Machine--Grandmother to Blame."

After all that, we were still only a few minutes late for BSF. Lauren's teachers were so happy to see her. Did I mention that she's the only girl in a class full of boys? I think she gets a lot of special attention.

After her nap, Lauren begged to watch the Bear DVD. It was Jacob's favorite when he was her age, and she loves it just as much. It's a music DVD, with children singing and acting out the songs. She sings along with it, but when I sing she says, "No, Nana, don't sing." She must have a good ear for music.

Relaxing on the couch.

Singing "Wheels on the Bus"

See the foot? Don't ask me how this is physically possible.

Her favorite saying right now is "I do mahself." You have to be very innovative to distract her enough to get her buckled into her car seat. Otherwise you could sit there for hours. She is quickly learning good manners and now not only says "Thank choo" but follows it with "You wecome."

Lauren loves Gwacee and Otis and likes to stick her hand through the fence to let them lick it. Gracie pretty much ignores her, but Otis is very cooperative.