Eighty…

It’s past time for me to write about turning eighty years!

My birthday was on Halloween Day. IMG_2420                    But I feel I must get my feelings out in writing. This was a difficult birthday!

Yes, I turned eighty! I don’t feel eighty! Some folks have a hard time turning 30, 40, 50… I had no problem with those years. But 80…! I remember when my mother turned eighty!

Friends tell me I don’t look eighty! But maybe they’re just being nice! I don’t feel eighty… Hmmmm! What does eighty feel like? I don’t know…I’ve never been eighty before! IMG_2375 I’m holding a month old Husky puppy! This is the latest picture of me and was taken on my eightieth birthday. No, the puppy was not a birthday present or any kind of present! He/she is not mine! Although I would love to keep  him/her! My niece invited me to visit and hold the new puppies!

I do get tired and worn out easily. My hair is almost all white, there’s still some gray in the back. My hair is thinning!!! Help! Jerry and I don’t drive at night any more. I’m buying frozen dinners for us to eat several nights of the week!

Our children…are pictured at the top of this page! We have five and none of them live near us. Only one lives in Michigan! The others live in Illinois; Sask., Canada; New Mexico; and Georgia! But they are taking charge!!! Pam moved us down from our big, beautiful bedroom upstairs to a bedroom downstairs! Tim drove us to South Carolina to a grandson’s wedding. Ted, Christy, and Rob are all in agreement that we shouldn’t drive outside of our town!!!  We’re all in contact often. What?! Is this eighty?

I actually had three celebrations for my 80th birthday! First one, planned by one daughter and two daughters-in-law, was in South Carolina the day before my grandson’s wedding! IMG_2016 (1)    The second was our small group, we are members of, when they surprised me! IMG_3455                                             The third was dinner at Lucky’s Steak House with Jerry! It was my first time to go there! Both of our steaks were cooked to perfection! He gave me a beautiful Nativity set to go with my collection. IMG_2360 (1) So you can see I had a good  birthday. So I should be happy…!!!

But eighty? I’m not ready to be old!

One day a realization came to me. I have loved ones who have already died: parents, sister, some close relatives, some close friends. Favorite Bible characters: Joseph, Daniel, David, Mary, Luke, Timothy, John, and many others! I’ve always looked far ahead knowing that someday I’ll join them. Well, someday is getting closer! I won’t have quite so long a wait! That’s a good thing! Something to look forward to!!!

I do have longevity in my genes: Dad – 96, Mother – 99, Aunt Bessie – 102, Great-uncle Will – 101, and maybe some others I’m not aware of. I guess I’ll just live one day at a time and one year at a time. When my time comes I’m ready. I’ve asked Jesus for forgiveness and to live in my heart, so I know where I’m going when my time comes. I’ve been born again! I hope when your time comes that you’ll join me!

“What a day that will be…when my Jesus I shall see! When I look upon His face, the One who saved me by His grace…”

 

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…!

Happy Birthday, Chrystalene Beth

Happy Birthday, Christy!  Christy & Pam 2015 (2)  You are on the left of my two beautiful daughters, Christy and Pam! I don’t seem to have a recent picture of just you! But this is a good, recent one! Sisters! I love both of you! You were the baby of the family for five years! Then a new brother, Rob, was born, giving us five wonderful and beautiful children.

Now, even though you assured me you were not following me, you have five wonderful, beautiful children! You’ve given me five fantastic, gorgeous grandchildren! Thank you for this precious gift! I wish I could be there to help them, and Sean, celebrate your day!

Heavenly Father, thank You for Christy! You have blessed her with five children. Please help her as she guides, plays, comforts, disciplines, and loves them. Please keep Christy well and safe as she drives here and there. Help her with her business. Keep her trusting in You, draw her ever closer to You. I love Christy so much and You love her even more. 

Our Fun Homes Away From Home

Camping has always been a favorite activity for our family.

Jerry and I bought our first camper in about 1962. It was a fold-up camper and we loved it! We had two children, Pammy and Teddy. It had two double beds, Jerry made a cupboard for our dishes. I used the top of it for a workspace. When we were traveling the cupboard set on the floor. In this picture Pammy is in the doorway, Teddy is sitting on a rug on the ground. Fold-up camper

This was at Higgins Lake Conservation Park in 1964. Timmy was a tiny baby. We also took our camper to our church family camp.

An experience I’ll never forget happened at family camp. Sunday morning, Jerry had taken Pammy and Teddy and gone on to the big tabernacle for church. He carefully zipped the flaps down before they left. I was in the camper, not dressed yet, nursing baby Timmy. All of a sudden the flaps on the camper unzipped and flew up. A man stuck his head inside! As he looked around he said, “I’ve always wondered what one of these looked like on the inside!” There I sat, in my nightgown, nursing my baby! He zipped the flaps back down and went on his way! I had no idea who he was! What a shock!

But we have so many good memories of our fold-up camper! However, with our growing family we decided we needed something bigger.

So we bought a 17-foot used trailer.  Bunk beds in the back for the kids, a kitchen in the middle, Jerry and I slept on the sofa in the front. Yes, we had more room but we didn’t have the feel of camping!

Next was our Gem pick-up camper. We bought it brand new.  But the truck was old! These two pictures are also old, but I want to show how we loved camping as a family! The second picture shows Teddy, Pammy, and Christy, backwards in her stroller! The kids slept on the bed above the cab, and Jerry and I slept on the table which made into a bed!  This was in about 1969.New pick-up camper Gem  Pick-up Camper It was crowded but we were happy. The picture above was about 1970, from left is Teddy, Christy is sitting on my lap, Timmy, and if you look closely, Pammy is looking out of the camper window above the truck cab! In 1976, we bought a different truck and traveled all over with our Gem, clear out to the Pacific Ocean! We had another baby, Robby! Sometimes we just went to Higgins Lake State Park and every year we went to our family camp. As the kids got older they slept in a tent, so Jerry and I moved up to the bed. We just loved camping. The top picture here is at the Black Hills National Park in South Dakota. The lower picture is at the Pacific Ocean at Cannon Beach, Oregon, in 1976. Jerry drove our truck right down the beach! Timmy and Christy are standing beside the truck.Camper

In 1990, we bought our Shadow Cruiser, fifth wheel trailer. It was also brand new and we loved it! In fact, we still have it! Yes, we still have it!

Jerry & Rob camping

Rob, our youngest son and Jerry, relaxing after setting up camp!

We found a map to put on the side of the camper! Grandson’s, Andrew and Matthew, were excited that we went to Pennsylvania to visit them! Andrew & Matthew map on camper

We went to Iowa to Aunt Bessie’s 100th birthday party. Several others in our family had also gone. We actually fed 11 people dinner inside our 5th wheel camper! Looking from left: son, Tim; Jerry; Mother; Dad; grandson, Matthew. The rest of us are there, just not visible!Family dinner in 5th wheel

We added Canada, to our map, to show we went to Saskatchewan, Canada! Adding Canada to map In 1994 and ’95, we went to Sonora, Mexico, to Rancho Betania!Mexico So we added to our map again!Adding Mexico

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Sometimes grandchildren stayed at family camp with us! Here is granddaughter, Sydney, relaxing by her tent! Just look at the map on the side of the camper! Our Shadow Cruiser took us all over North America! Sadly, we missed Alaska and the northeastern states. We’ve actually been to all 50 states…just not with our Shadow Cruiser! But we came close!

Oh, what wonderful memories! We love our Shadow Cruiser, home away from home!

This year, 2015, is the first year we’ve not gone anywhere with our camper! We didn’t even go to our wonderful family camp at Covenant Hills Camp. We used it as an extra bedroom for guests a couple of times in the summer. That was a relief when we had a house full!

IMG_1492 (1)Here’s Jerry, after washing it, backing it into our pole barn. It’s rather sad to think we didn’t go anywhere with it this year. Age has a way of determining when it’s time to slow down.

What wonderful, fun, loving memories we have of camping and traveling!

Happy Anniversary, Pam and Gene

Happy Anniversary, Pam and Gene. You were married in 1982! Thirty-three years ago! It doesn’t seem possible! Grandpa, my dad, married you! It was a very happy day! Pam & Gene & Dad wedding  In a couple of days now, you’ll be on a cruise! I’m so happy for you!

Thank You, Lord, for Pam and Gene and their happy marriage. Please keep them well and safe. Keep them living close to You. Life moves on and gets very busy. Please keep them close to each other and close to You. I love Pam and Gene so much and You love them even more.

Sisters

Who can be closer than sisters? Sisters are special friends. They share bedrooms, even beds sometimes. They share clothes and jewelry sometimes. They have likes and dislikes! Secrets are big among sisters! They love to tease and have fun with each other!  Christy, Pam & Kay  My own two daughter’s, Christy and Pam!

One of my daughters-in-law and her sister. Jessica and Sarah. IMG_1343

0008  ???????????????????????????????  Two of my granddaughter’s, Isabella and Sydney!

Haleigh & Elmise  Two more granddaughter’s, Haleigh and Elmise!

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Maddie and Megan

Two more granddaughter’s, Maddie and Megan! (I’m looking for a better quality photo of them, when I find one, I’ll post it.)

01-22-2009 01;38;52PM  Four of my nieces, belonging to my sister, Lorraine. The oldest playing her violin is Christy. Playing the piano is Rhonda. Singing is Linda and then also, little Sonja! Of course, they’re all grown up now with children of their own. But such sweet sisters. The next picture of three sisters is of my great-nieces, daughters of Rhonda.

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Austin, Mackenzie, and Taylor.

Three more great-nieces, Kimberlyn, Courtney, and Jenna!

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Kimberlyn, Courtney, & Jenna.

Yes, sisters have a special relationship. My own sister and I played together as children. Family 001  Oh, the fun we had back then! We played ‘house’ with our dolls! We spent hours playing Paper dolls, Jacks, Jump rope, School, Tag, and more!  We listened to our favorite programs on the radio, like Fiber Magee and Molly, Let’s Pretend, Amos and Andy, and more!

Then as teenagers we kind of went our own ways. I’m not sure why. Lorraine & Anita as teens    She went away to a Christian High School, in her sophomore year of high school, so we were separated from then on. Of course, we were together occasionally but we lacked the close intimate relationship as sisters. We were both so busy with life.

But in retirement we connected again as sisters should and do! I’m on the right with grayish white hair!Lorraine

We lived across the country from each other but we spent hours on the phone, usually late at night, so there were no interruptions. We discussed everything from our childhood, the fun we had, to the strict rules placed upon us; our school years; our belief in God; husbands and children and then grandchildren! We seldom discussed politics. But we gained back that close relationship we had had as children! We loved each other.  We got together whenever we could.

Then late one night the phone rang. I was sure it was Lorraine and I eagerly answered. But no, it was my older brother. He called to tell me Lorraine had died, unexpectedly. I went into shock and still miss her so much!

I loved my sister.

Just One Granddaughter and Me

I have 15 grandchildren and I love each one of them! I have no favorites. Let me make that clear. Andrew, Matthew, Kaleb, Tyler, Annie, Max, Megan, Haleigh, Miller, Sydney, Elmise, Isabella, Mason, Armon, and Maddie.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA In this picture, taken two years ago, there are eleven of the fifteen. Top row from left: Matthew, Kaleb, Miller, Megan, and Haleigh. Center row from left: Annie, Me, Grandpa, and Mason. Front row from left: Armon, Bella, Elmise, and Maddie. Missing are: Andrew, Tyler, Max, and Sydney.

Haleigh lived next door to me her entire 18 years! We were at the hospital when she was born. She was a tiny preemie, weighing a little over four pounds. Haleigh Dedication  This was her dedication day. The picture is of Rob and Jessica, Tyler, Haleigh, and Pastor Dave.  I made Haleigh’s dress, as I did for some of the other granddaughters, Sydney, and Isabella. Megan and Maddie wore the dress that I had made for my daughter, Christy, when she was dedicated! So, since Haleigh lived next door, of course, we’ve been close. We have shared so much of life together. She was free to run through the woods to Grandma’s house and has confided in me.

One day Haleigh said, “Grandma, we should go on a trip together! Just you and me! My first thought was, ‘I have fifteen grandchildren, I’d have to take 15 trips! I can’t favor just one of them!’ Every now and then she’d make the same  request! Finally, I answered with, “Well, Haleigh, we can dream!”

In July of 2014, Jerry and I were at our family camp. Haleigh was with her family on a vacation. Every morning at camp we had a missions hour, which I always attended. The first morning Conference Superintendent Paul gave out slips of paper to everyone, instructing us to write our name on the paper and turn it in. Every day we were to do this. A name would be drawn at the end of the week and that person would be given a check to send them to a mission field! However, as I began writing my name on that first day, the thought came to me that I should write Haleigh’s name, not mine! So I did. Every day. Haleigh’s name!

On Friday, guess whose name was picked! Haleigh’s! She chose to go to Haiti!  I chose to go with her! Her way was mostly paid: $1000.00! Mine was not! But I felt and still feel this was of God. Excitement mounted throughout the year as we prepared for this exciting trip.

Haleigh was in her senior year of high school so it was already a special year in her young life. Haleigh grad 4 Graduation Haleigh (3)   Plans for her future were being formed for her and by her. College and then a career in early child development. She loves children!

Plans for the trip to Haiti were moving along. We chose to go with the Free Methodist General Conference Missions Trip in July. So on July 8 the team met in Orlando, Florida.

Haleigh and I hadn’t traveled together to get to Orlando so we were happy to reunite when I arrived late on July 8. We were so excited to stay in a beautiful resort in Orlando. We met in the lobby and were given the keys to our room. We took the elevator up to the ninth floor, found our room and were so excited when we opened our door! “Oh look,” I exclaimed, “It’s a suite! It’s not just a room! What a lovely living room! Look at the nice bathroom!” Then we opened the door to the bedroom and switched the light on. “Oh…no!” Someone was sleeping in one of the beds!!! We were shocked! The person, a young woman, woke up, sat up, and said, “Oh, Haleigh, you have arrived!” What?! She was expecting Haleigh! What about me? Somehow there was a mix-up in the registration. I decided and insisted that I sleep on the sofa in living room, Haleigh slept in the second bed in the bedroom.

Orientation meetings took place the next day. On July 10, 142 folks  Haleigh & Me Traveling  went by bus to Fort Lauderdale and then flew to Port-au-Prince, Haiti! We’d both been there before so we knew what to expect, however, neither of us had been there since the earthquake. Many folks on this team had never been to Haiti before this trip.

This was Haleigh’s first time to go as part of a work team. It was my third time to go with a work team. We went by bus to Providence University near Balan, Ganthier Province of Haiti .  This is a new university and is still in progress. 100_5793  100_5773  The men’s dorm. 100_5774  The women’s dorm. 100_5766  Meals were cooked and served by the Haitian staff in this pavilion.

There were several projects for us to choose from for our share of work. Eden: reforestation of trees; making desks; pouring cement; VBS; medical team, goat teams.  Haleigh chose to work with children in VBS. She also cared for the children of women who had come to the medical clinic.

I helped paint desk frames and then I joined a goat team. I left to go back to Port-au-Prince. So Haleigh and I had to say good-bye.  We would meet again  on the day we would leave to go back to Orlando, Florida.Haleigh and me parting in Haiti

I knew she would be fine and friends would watch out for her. And they did. Haleigh actually blossomed. I’m so proud of her.

Goat team #2. My new wonderful friends: Bonnie, me Lars, Linda, Ali, Marv, (sorry, I forgot the last one’s name.) Second goat team    IMG_1021  IMG_1020  Goats, belonging to Free Methodist families were treated and hooves trimmed. We traveled into the mountains to remote villages where we had a church. Folks brought their goats to us. It was quite an experience!

Haleigh loves children! Haleigh with sleeping girl  Besides working in VBS she helped care for the children of the many women who came to the health clinic.

Haleigh sponsors a little boy in Haiti Haleigh sponsored boy & family (2)  and was thrilled to get to meet him!

This trip was a trip of a lifetime!  We did it together but yet we were able to do our own thing. Haleigh blossomed as she worked and played with the children. We both made wonderful friends, Haitian and American. It was a trip and an experience for us that was meant to be! We both thank God for this trip of a lifetime!