Sunday, February 23, 2014

Another Good-bye... So Long Grandma's House

This morning I got an email from my cousin telling me that the home of our Grandma Hansen burned a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully no one was hurt. Grandma didn't live there anymore. She has been in heaven 7 years this month. The house belonged to another family that I don't know. That house was host to a lot of memories for me over the years though. We spent much of our growing up years in that house.

Grandma was our daycare/ preschool/ teacher/ best friend all wrapped up in one. While Mom was teaching and Dad was at the Wood Shoppe we were at Grandma's until we were old enough to go to school. After that we were often at Grandma's before and/or after school often except when we were at LaFayette and the year I walked to Crystal's or the shop after school in 6th grade. Much of that time, especially in the early years our cousin Heather was there too. Last night she posted to my facebook:
A Grandparent's 
house is where 
cousins become
best friends.

It's so true. Oh, the adventures we had. So many memories came running back at me when I saw the picture from the news report of the fire.

In the smoke filled pictures you can't see much of the house but you can see the enclosed front porch where Great Grandpa Dean's desk was. He was Grandma's dad and he lived there too, most of those years. He used to give me Chiclets that he had hidden away in his desk and tell me about going to McDonalds or "the chicken place." He made us nervous out there on the roads driving and he used to tell me that he thought that he should start riding a bike "but this leg..." One of my favorite pictures of Grandpa Dean is one when I took his hat and wore it and sat next to him on the little stool between the couch and his chair. I remember many an afternoon spent in the living room often spending time staring at his chest to make sure that he was still breathing.

Our toys were stored in that front porch too - the Chatty Cathy doll, the Barbie McDonalds, the little organ. Grandma told me that she was glad that my mom had me take piano lessons. She had always wanted piano lessons but she never had a piano to play and that's why she bought the little organ.

Her driveway was host to lots of fun playing airplanes, dancing like a dinosaur and more when I was a kid.  Grandma found little bikes or trikes or toys for us to play with in the driveway, years later she found some for my kids as well.  I'm so grateful I have memories of my kids playing in that driveway as well when they were very little.

I can remember a few times when Russell and I slept over at Grandma's house. We didn't go upstairs often but I always thought it was fun to go upstairs and see the room where my mom slept when she was a little girl. I remember one time when we spent the night at Grandma's she let us each have a flashlight to take to bed with us in case we needed it in the night when she put us to bed in mom's old room. That night we had a flashlight war and had so much fun that we told grandma all about it in the morning. From that time on I always "got" to sleep with Grandma on her bed while Russ slept in mom's old room. Bummer.

 Grandma's back yard was so much fun. I always felt like she had 3 yards in the back: the front part along the garage up to the flower beds and stone path, the middle part with the big apple tree and the garden. Oh, Grandma's gardens were amazing. She planted beautiful flowers everywhere and her vegetable gardens (which were divided into three sections) always produced an abundance. She loved working outside and had a dark tan on her wrinkled skin from so many hours in the sunshine. Food from her gardens not only fed her but my family, neighbors, and many others would get bags of yummy produce whether they wanted it or not. Picking apples and pears from her trees kept us busy many a fall day. I remember picking flowers from Grandma's flower gardens for daisy chain bouquets.

There was a little house in the backyard that I would have loved to have seen in it's prime, when my mom and Uncle Rusty were kids. I think that there used to be bunkbeds and all kind of stuff in it back then but all I can remember it being used for was to store gardening tools and supplies and cool whip containers.

I just realized something. I don't remember the last time I counted dial tones when calling someone on the phone. I would always count dial tones when calling grandma. It would take her a while to get to the phone and I figured if she didn't answer by ring 10 or 15 that she was probably outside or something and that I should call back later. She did eventually have an answering machine but I still counted anyway because it was set not to go to the machine very quickly.

 I remember sitting with Glenn on Grandma's couch and poking him on accident with my toe when I was first introducing him to her. Grandma's house was the first place I remember walking to when we got our double jogging stroller when Hannah was newborn. Oh, there are so many more memories but they will have to wait for another day.

I'm glad that I could take a bit of a trip down memory lane today. A good cry once in a while is good for me.
I'm so glad for the time I spent at that house growing up and that memories don't burn like houses do.
I'm also glad that Grandma's house didn't catch on fire sometime while she lived there. There were definitely fire hazards with the piles of stuff and the pet hair. I'm glad God protected her and kept her safe from fire.

So long old house. Thanks, God, for the memories and especially for the dear people who fill them. Please bring comfort to them as another door to the past closes. Please also comfort and provide for the family who lost their home in that fire.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Write

I do not write enough. It is not because there is nothing to write about. It is not because I do not need to write. I do. There is so much to write about. I have so many things running around in my mind, so many things that have happened that I want to remember, want to share, or really need to process and I process best through writing.

There are also so many great things that God has done. So many things that He has provided. So many neat opportunities we have had. So many trials that we have lived through. So many blessings that we have had. So many things that God is teaching me that I would love to share.

I just haven't taken the time to write. I could list tons of excuses but I won't. It is something that I haven't prioritized but I need to work it into my time budget because it is important to me and I need to make time for what is important to me. Today I added "Spend 15 minutes writing" to my "dailies" on HabitRPG. (It's growing on me. My family is currently battling a dragon and if I don't do my part by doing all my "dailies" the dragon "kills" me and it hurts our party.) You may not see much of a difference here on my blog but I am going to start writing because I need to.


Linking up with Lisa Jo for Five Minute Friday. Join me?
Five Minute Friday

It's February 7th again...

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 MSG)

This verse was the verse of the day on Youversion today. I think God put it there just for me. It's an appropriate reminder for me for February 7th, I think.

I am often in a low spot emotionally this time of the year. I don't know if its the lack of sunshine and time outside or the fact that this time of the year has many dates that are on the calendar of my past that I wish weren't.

My mom passed into eternity 11 years ago today after living her last 20 months in various healthcare facilities. 11 years. It hardly seems possible!

I have learned many things over the past 11 years and I'm not sure how I would have done it without God.

* Just like it says He is the God of all comfort. So many times He has orchestrated circumstances or sent people my way to comfort me, to walk beside me. God's Word, especially the Psalms and Habakkuk, and various songs have been a huge comfort to me as well as He brought them into my life at just the right time. He is so good. He is so faithful. He loves me and knows best.

* Just like it says God has brought others into my life and allowed me to walk with them and be a comfort to them just as He has provided comfort to me. I have an idea of what it feels like to lose a parent. I've lost two. Because I have been allowed the opportunity to suffer I can empathize with others who are going through suffering.  For that I am very grateful. If I had never felt pain I would never be able to walk through pain with others.

I can't believe it has been 11 years. Sometimes I see bits of her in myself, in my kids. I wish they could have known her. I miss her. I am grateful though for all that God has taught me and how He has used me because, in His sovereignty, He knew it would be best to take her home when He did. Most of all I am grateful for the God of all comfort that walks with me and has comforted me and strengthened me though every day.