Bucket List 2016

  1.  Enjoy time with each of our five children. It’s only the middle of January and I’ve already accomplished this! Rob's family  Our youngest son, Rob, with his family, was here for the week between Christmas and New Year, 2015. They left January 2, 2016! All Here  Our other four children, January 9, 2016, celebrating and surprising Jerry, for his 80th birthday, which is the next day! Pam and Ted on either side of the window. Christy and Tim on either side of Jerry.
  2. Travel to Iowa with granddaughter’s, Sydney and Bella, to visit LeRoy and Carolyn and their horses!
  3. Travel to Ireland.
  4. Travel to Norway.
  5. Downsize.
  6. Sort books, keeping only precious books!
  7. Clean out and throw away non-essential ‘things’.
  8. Remodel downstairs bathroom and reading room, making it one larger bathroom.
  9. Go to E. Michigan Conference as a delegate.
  10. Go to E. Michigan family camp.
  11. Plant flowers in Flower Bed.
  12. Yard Sale.
  13. Finish my writing on My Big Brother and send it to him!  Accomplished in March! 
  14. More later…!

Halloween Birthday

Yes, I was born on Halloween day. When I was a little girl I dressed up like a witch every year for trick or treating! How could I be anything else? While my siblings were fidgeting, wondering how they should dress up, I was quietly making my tall, pointed, black hat, finishing off my costume of all black clothes, and Mother’s broom!

The only problem with having my birthday on Halloween, as I saw it, was that my siblings didn’t care about a birthday, they only wanted to go trick or treating! And that’s all I wanted to do too. I don’t remember ever having a birthday party. But we sure had fun and we got lots of candy!

Then I grew up and got married. At that time, in Jerry’s family, a party was held for each one on their birthday. So for my birthday, I made a birthday cake, and everyone came over from the oldest- Grandma, to the youngest- baby, Marilyn. The thing I remember most about that party was that my cake wasn’t big enough!

So the years have gone by. Our family grew and our kids loved to go trick or treating. I remember one year, 1970, we had a Halloween party and invited our neighbors and friends. It was a lot of fun. Everyone, including parents, wore Halloween costumes. Halloween party We played all the common Halloween games: bobbing for apples, counting the pumpkin seeds. In this picture, Carolee is trying to eat a donut hanging from a string! We even had a small ghost house! I can’t remember all the games we played, but it sure was fun! Halloween party, Carolee One of the mothers, knowing it was my birthday, baked a birthday cake for me! Surprise!!! It was decorated like a jack-o-lantern!

I’ve continued to have birthdays and Halloween has also continued. We live in a woods with a long driveway today so we don’t even get any trick or treater’s. Jerry always takes me out for my birthday supper.

Three years ago I had an unforgettable birthday! I turned 74! Yes, it was Halloween, but we were on the Norwegian cruise ship, Pride of America,  cruising the Hawaiian Islands! What a special birthday! Jerry and I were with Pam and Gene, daughter and son-in-law. They celebrated their anniversary! Kay, second cousin, was, also, with us. What a fantastic time we had! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Two years ago, I had another fantastic birthday! I turned 75 and we went to Iowa to visit my Iowa cousins! It wasn’t a birthday trip. It just turned out to be the best weekend for all of us concerned! Tim, our Canadian son, came down to visit us. We traveled to Chicago where Pam and Gene, daughter and son-in-law, joined us and we all traveled to Iowa to visit our cousins. It happened to be on my birthday. I had requested to, please, keep still about it being my birthday. Well, the first thing that took place was Leroy, my most favorite cousin in the whole wide world, bringing out a huge cloth bag and handing it to me, with a huge smile on his face!

I looked at Jerry and Pam. They both looked as surprised as I did! I slowly opened the bag and inside was a BEAUTIFUL AMISH QUILT! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Leroy!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Carolyn!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Rose of Sharon quilt, hand-stitched by Amish ladies! Carolyn said she knew it was my birthday because of facebook!

Well, that wasn’t the end of my birthday! That evening we went to an Amish dinner! Oh, my! Other cousins joined us! FullSizeRender (79)  The only lights were kerosene lamps.  IMG_0216 (2)  My birthday dinner plate! Everything was so delicious!  FullSizeRender (84) My beautiful birthday cake made by one of the Amish ladies!

So, today I’m planning on a normal Halloween birthday! Jerry will take me out for dinner. I’ve already gotten some phone calls from some of our kids. The mailman must have chuckled when he delivered my birthday cards today! They were addressed to Grandma in various ways!

So begins another year in the life of me! I don’t feel 77! I don’t think I look 77! I know I don’t act 77! I am blessed!

I’m Ready, Are You?

Another funeral today… the sister of my very close friend. I barely knew the person who died so suddenly, but yet I considered her a friend. We saw each other mainly at family functions: weddings, anniversaries, and funerals. Today was her funeral, her death was so unexpected. She was 78 years old, about a year and a half older than I am.

So another funeral today. There have been so many…! Lorraine, Joan, Lynne, Dean, Norma, Oates, Twila, Jim, another Jim, Jack, Bob, Margaret, Carolee, David, Evelyn, and there are more. These are just the names that came to my mind just now as I’m writing.

These are also close to my age! I didn’t name the folks who’ve died in their old age, upper 80’s and 90’s! Yes, I’m in my middle seventies. But, I don’t feel old! I know I must look old! I get offers of help at the supermarket! When I was in Haiti in June of this year, the wonderful Haitian folks wouldn’t allow me to do anything! They would hold up their hands and say, “Oh, no, Grandma. No, no!” They would then do the task I was needing to do! I do admit to having aches and pains that are new to me, but I’m not ready to die!

Well, physically, I’m not ready to die. Spiritually, I am ready to die! I’m forgiven, I’m born again, I’m living in praise of my personal Saviour! What a wonderful place to be! When my day comes for me to breathe my last breath, I don’t want anyone to wonder if I’m  ready! New haircut  Praise God, I’m ready! Are you?

A Photo Shoot With Three of My Granddaughters

I have seven granddaughters, Annie, Megan, Haleigh, Sydney, Elmise, Isabella, and Maddie! I love each of them. I had a fun day with three of them recently. It was a cold, windy day, not a good day for a photo shoot but when you’re cousins and it’s what you want to do, it’s okay! Haleigh, Sydney, and Bella. Two are sisters, Sydney and Bella; they are all cousins.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  You can see by this tree spring hadn’t arrived yet. Here’s a closer up picture of the same pose.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  They may be telling secrets on Grandma!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Bella, Haleigh, and Sydney with the Tridge in the background.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Brrrrrr! You can see it’s windy! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Haleigh, Sydney, and Bella.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Sydney  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Haleigh OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Bella  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Sydney and Haleigh OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Sydney and Bella OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Sydney and Haleigh  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  It was a good day! Now, let’s go and get warmed up!

The Butterfly House

Butterflies in Bloom! Here in Midland we have a Butterfly House in Dow Gardens. It goes from February 27 to April 19. I’ve actually been there three times this year! It’s a good thing I have an annual pass!

The first time Jerry and I took Pam and Gene, our daughter and son-in-law. IMG_0713  Gene with what I think is a Grecian Shoemaker on his shoulder.  PTD0A8~1  This is a Tailed Jay. The next time I went was with Elmise and Armon. Elmise1  Elmise is holding one but I can’t tell what it is.  Armon '15  Armon has one on his finger.

My third trip was with Sydney and Isabella. IMG_0873 (2)  Sydney with a Grecian Shoemaker. IMG_0881 (2)  Isabella has a Tiger Swallowtail.  IMG_0890 (2) A Southern White Butterfly landed in my white hair! There are many different butterflies. A couple more pictures are of  IMG_0868 (2) Blue Morpho,  PTD0A8~1  Tailed Jay, IMG_0896 (2)  Grecian Shoemaker.

Leaving is always the temptation to take a picture beside the waterfall. Dow Gardens J, A, P, G Jerry and me. Pam and Gene.

Dow Gardens Falls  Can you make out Armon with his orange jacket?

IMG_0914 Sydney and Bella sitting at the top of the falls. A very good time for everyone.

Two Weeks With Grandchildren

Boy, am I tired…! But it’s a good tired! Kids have an abundance of energy! If they didn’t I’d be worried.

The first week was with Elmise and Armon, our beautiful adopted grandchildren. Kida   IMG_0913The second week was with Isabella and Sydney. I took these pictures of the four grandchildren, two at a time, a week apart.

Elmise & Armon at McDonalds '15  Elmise is thirteen and Armon is ten. We’re sitting in McDonald’s here having a treat before going home. We’d been to the Nature Center and were in need of some nurishment! Tree Armon  Armon is checking out this hollow tree! Armon tree (2)  Nature walk 1 (2)  Down by the river. It’s too bad the weather wasn’t nicer.  Armon Maple syrup pail (2)  Maple trees are being tapped for Maple Syrup!  We came to the Maple Syrup Shack.  Maple syrup shack

Maple syrup vat (2)  It’s hard to see, but the kids are looking into the boiling vat. Maple syrup barrel  It takes 40 gallons of Sugar Maple sap to make one gallon of pure maple syrup!

Wind 1 The wind blew our basket down. It was so sad. But with the help of Armon Grandpa got it up and fixed temporarily!  Armon basketball 2  Armon was able to get lots of practice time in! He’s good at all sports!

We colored Easter eggs, something I haven’t done since our children were young! It was fun! Coloring eggs 1

An afternoon at the Butterfly House is always fun!    It’s a nice walk through Dow Gardens before arriving at the Butterfly House.  Both kids climbed the huge boulders. Elmise & Armon climbing

Then the weekend came and two more cousins came! Sydney and Isabella came to spend the next week with Grandma and Grandpa, overlapping on the weekend with Elmise and Armon. It was a good time for Elmise. It’s hard for an adolescent girl to be at grandparents house with only a younger brother. We did lots of things together, baking, playing Skip-Bo, etc. but she wasn’t truly happy until the cousins arrived! Here they are in a bed made up just for them on the floor of the sun-room. Granddaughters sleep night (2)  They talked and giggled way into the night like girls do!  Sunday morning Elmise and Sydney styled Bella’s hair! Girls hair styling Bella hair-do  They did a good job!

The last Easter Egg Treasure Hunt was fun and kind of bittersweet. The grandchildren are growing up! So the Easter bunny has officially retired! Easter Egg Hunt 1  Easter Egg Hunt 4

Monday, two grandkids went home and two stayed for the next week. Sydney and Isabella. We took a day and went to visit Central Michigan University for Sydney. Yes, she’s starting to look at universities to attend after high school. She’s a sophomore now! It was a good day!

IMG_0831  We also drove through Northwood University. It’s situated in a big woods. We saw lots of deer! IMG_0850 (2)  This was very close to campus. We spent an afternoon at the Community Center swimming pool. Syd & Bella swimming We had a precious time together. All our grandchildren are growing up. These are our Michigan grandchildren. We did lots of other activities together, like playing Skip-Bo, watching movies, chatting, baking, cooking, shopping, etc. These two weeks are almost over. Time is rushing by. See the next post for visits to the Butterfly House…

Happy Thanksgiving

I, like so many Americans, have so much to be thankful for. And, like so many Americans, I take so much for granted. I don’t mean to, but it’s true. Our Thanksgiving dinner today was, roast turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, glazed carrots, sweet potatoes, baked beans, rolls and butter, salad and pumpkin pie. There was so much we couldn’t fit it all on the dining room table. This first picture shows some of the food on a folding table off to one side of the dining room. Everything turned out so good.

IMG_0312 (2)  IMG_0310 (2)  IMG_0311 (2)  These two pictures show the family around the table. Sydney took the pictures as selfies. We went around the table telling what each one was thankful for. It was a beautiful time.

I need to back up here.  Shortly before dinner was ready, two friends stopped over, Lily Kong, our Chinese friend. We love her so much and her boyfriend, Kevin.  IMG_0299 (2)  But Kevin is in China now. Lily brought a friend with her today. IMG_0297 (2)  This is a picture of our granddaughter, Sydney, Lilly and Cherry Chen. But they were headed to Chicago and needed to be on their way so they couldn’t stay for dinner. We’re glad they stopped by. They even brought us gifts of candy! Yummm!

FullSizeRender  This is our wonderful international family! Elmise, Bella, Sydney, Haleigh, Armon and Lily!

Back to our Thanksgiving dinner. It takes hours to prepare dinner and about a half hour to eat dinner! Then comes the clean up! Jessica, my daughter-in-law, insisted I leave the dining room and kitchen, go to the living room, sit down or lie down while she cleaned up the mess!

I actually laid down on the sofa and took a nap! But I must give credit here to some others as well. Rob cleaned the turkey off the carcass and even took the carcass out to the garbage can. Haleigh, Sydney, Elmise and Bella helped clean up the kitchen! Jessica deserves the most credit for washing the dishes and cleaning everything up. When I woke up from my nap, a cup of coffee was sitting beside me! What a family I have!

Later, Sydney gave me a private concert! IMG_0322 (2)  She’s an accomplished flute player!

After watching a movie the girls split up. Sydney went home with Haleigh for the night. Elmise stayed here with Bella for the night!