Friday’s Fave Five

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Itโ€™s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

This turned out to be a busier week than expected! But here are some favorite parts of it:

1. Valentine’s Day – though we’re celebrating it as a family today since my husband was traveling yesterday. Therefore I wasn’t expecting anything Valentiney yesterday, but when my husband got home last night, he brought these and a sweet card:

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This is my favorite candy, but I only have it on special occasions – because otherwise I’d be eating it all the time and weigh a ton. He got extra because he had forgotten it at Christmas. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll have to make myself ration it out so I don’t overdo – but the advantage there is that will just make it last longer. ๐Ÿ™‚

2. Meal delivery services. A lot of restaurants these days outsource their deliveries, like Uber for food. It makes sense – some of them probably don’t have enough delivery orders to hire someone for that purpose full time. But I still felt wary of a stranger having my food between the restaurant and my home – until I reminded myself that everyone at the restaurant is a stranger, and even a delivery driver hired directly by the restaurant is as well. So we tried delivery from a favorite Mexican food place one night this week. The ordering process was painless and efficient, and the food came in a timely manner. We remarked how it was so much better than the fast-food Mexican alternative we had considered. ๐Ÿ™‚

3. Photo Booth was a forgotten app on my iPad mini until Timothy discovered it recently. You can see yourself with negative, thermal, kaleidoscope, and funhouse-mirror type effects and take a picture. It was so fun to watch him giggle as he tried the different effects, especially one that swirled various features around.

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4. Timothy texting. He has sent voice texts with his parents’ help, but recently discovered how to put GIFs and images in a text. Since they have pictures of each of us in their contacts, he can easily choose who to send them to. Right now he sends a dozen at a time. ๐Ÿ™‚ But it’s fun to hear from him throughout the day.

5. Godโ€™s Grace. When brought low by my faults and failures – sin – Iโ€™m blessed to remember that my relationship with God isnโ€™t based on what I deserve. He took care of the punishment I deserved 2000 years ago. I can cast myself totally on His grace.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9, ESV

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Friday’s Fave Five

FFF snowflakes

Itโ€™s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

This is our first “normal” week after my mother-in-law’s passing, so we’re still getting used to the changed rhythms of our days. Here are some of the best parts of the week:

1. A memorial service for my mother-in-law. Since her funeral was in ID, we weren’t originally planning to have a service here in TN as well. Not too many people really knew her here. But then we felt that her caregiver, especially, as well as her hospice team might benefit from the closure that such a service offers since they could not attend the one in ID. The pastor of the church we attended the first eight years we lived here as well as our current pastor participated.

2. Lunch with old friends who were in town for an appointment. Nice to catch up with them and the extended family.

3. Frozen meals. We often get a meal or two out on the weekends, but we’d had to eat out quite a bit while out of town. So I figured I ought not to ask to eat out for a while. I got a frozen lasagna which sufficed for two dinners and a frozen Asian beef and broccoli stir-fry which made one dinner and several lunches. It’s nice to have a variety of ready-made meals available.

4. Change of work station. I had mentioned before that when my husband’s job involved working from home more, the only place available was the dining room table, just a few feet from my desktop. It was hard for me to write while listening to one-sided business conversations, and housework noises like the dishwasher, washing machine, and dinner preparation impeded his hearing conference calls. We plan to transition his mom’s room back into his office, but for now he has cleared a table in there to work. He’s even hooked up his computer to her TV, so he has a much bigger screen. Another advantage: he can leave his computer set up without having to clear the table for dinner. He jokes about his long commute to work. ๐Ÿ™‚ But it’s worked out much better for both of us.

5. Sorting and organizing. Weeding out expired coupons led to a complete clean-out of our aptly named junk drawer in the kitchen. (How do crumbs accumulate in a drawer that stays closed during dinner preparation?!) It felt good to get that done. Plus we’ve set aside several bags from other rooms in the house to be taken to the thrift store and found new homes for some items. One fun find in the kitchen drawer: a coupon book Jason and Mittu had made for me several years ago. They said they’d probably still honor them even though they’re expired. ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Friday!

Friday’s Fave Five

FFF snowflakes

Itโ€™s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

It’s been a full week, physically and emotionally, but a good one. Here are the best parts:

1. A great trip to Idaho for my husband’s mother’s funeral. Though the cause for our travel was sad, other aspects of the trip were fun. We had not traveled together as a family since Jason’s wedding, almost ten years ago. It was neat to be part of Timothy’s first flight. He loved it and handled everything wonderfully. Being in a hotel, visiting each other’s rooms, meeting various ones in the breakfast area were all enjoyable. My husband’s oldest brother and sister-in-law were at the same hotel, so we spent a lot of time in the breakfast room chatting. The boys liked the indoor pool and hot tub in the evenings.

2. A sightseeing tour through Jim’s home town. Mittu and Timothy had never been to ID, and the rest of us had not been in ages. The boys had only distant memories. We drove by Jim’s old house and noted the changes, various places he worked and went to school, walked a little bit around Snake River Canyon and Shoshone Falls. It was too cold and we didn’t have enough time to stay outside long, but it was fun.

3. Reconnecting and catching up with extended family and friends. Jim had gone back to ID over ten years ago to bring his mom back to our place, and much of the family met together then. But the rest of us had not seen his side of the family in maybe 18-20 years or more. Some we’ve kept in touch with on Facebook, which is nice but not quite the same. But some of the nieces and nephews aren’t on FB very much. It was almost like a family reunion. One niece remarked that the only thing wrong was that Grandma wasn’t there to enjoy it. She would have loved it. If she could see us from heaven, I’m sure she was happy to see us all together. A special treat was meeting one of her friends that I had been corresponding with for a few years and who has become a sweet reader and commenter on my blog.

4. Wonderful hotel staff. Various ones of us were in three different hotels and didn’t really have a central place to meet. In past years the gathering place would have been Grandma’s house. Our hotel served breakfast, but otherwise the breakfast room was not in use except for keeping coffee available for guests. The staff let us meet there as much as we liked and even allowed us to bring in pizzas to share after the funeral, offered bowls and tongs for ice, etc. We tried to clean up as best we could, straightening and wiping off tables, but I know we caused them more work with extra trash and vacuuming. They could not have been nicer.

5. A few days off from regular chores. It was nice not to have to cook or wash dishes and to have a maid tidy up the room for a few days.

Bonus: Praying friends and answered prayer. I had messaged a few friends with prayer requests for various aspects of the trip and funeral. Traveling with IBS was a particular concern. All that I had asked prayer for went amazingly well. I’m so thankful to God for His grace and for friends who upheld in prayer and sent encouraging notes along the way.

Jim is off (well, mostly – still having to deal with emails and a few phone calls related to work) the rest of this week, but we’re transitioning back to normal. Or a new normal, I should say, adjusting to life without Grandma’s care.

Friday’s Fave Five

FFF snowflakes

Itโ€™s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

I mentioned last week’s FFF that my mother-in-law had taken a turn for the worse. For those of you who may not have seen my post last weekend, she did pass away peacefully Friday night. We haven’t actually had the funeral yet. In order to accommodate multiple schedules, it is set for next week. Because of that, Jim had to work this week – he couldn’t take both this week and next off. We’ve been working on all that’s involved in planning a funeral – we had done some things beforehand, but didn’t realize just how much there was to do. But I think everything that the funeral home director needed is to him now.

We’re doing well. We rejoice that her suffering is over and she’s with the Lord. But we do miss her. The hardest thing this week is all the everyday changes: our schedule had been built around her care, and the first few days we kept having the feeling that it was time to make her lunch, time to change her or get her ready for bed, time for the caregiver or bath aide to come. I’m sure that will lessen as we settle into a new normal. I will probably do a post dedicated to her after the funeral, after I’ve had time to process.

In the meantime, even during difficulty, there are bright spots along the way, large and small mercies of God. Here are a few from this week:

1. Sunshine. It seems like it has been overcast for weeks, rainy many days. The bright sunshine a couple of days has been uplifting.

2. Kind thoughts and comments. Your comments on my mother-in-law’s passing, comments of Facebook friends, and cards starting to come in have all blessed us.

3. A granddad and grandson project. My husband’s brother sent him this a few weeks ago to do with Timothy, but they hadn’t had a chance til this week. They had fun putting it together and then catapulting several things. ๐Ÿ™‚

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4. New haircut and stylist. The stylist I’ve seen for years resigned to have her fourth child. She recommended one of the other stylists to me, but I either hadn’t had a chance or hadn’t felt like going. I finally went yesterday, and the new stylist was great. She’s friends with the stylist I had been seeing, so I even got to see some baby pictures and hear how she was doing. And I didn’t realize til she punched my little card (with which, after ten visits, I can get a free haircut) that I hadn’t been there since October – no wonder I felt so scraggly! Nothing like getting one’s hair in shape to make one feel freshened up. ๐Ÿ™‚

5. Ad blockers. My computer was having problems yesterday, and while working on it my husband turned off the ad blocker add-on for Firefox. When I started using the computer this morning, I was astounded at how many and how annoying the ads were on different programs! I don’t mind a few ads – I know free sites have to be paid for somehow. But when a page is overrun with them or especially if they are moving and changing, it’s hard to get anything done. As soon as I remembered the ad blocker was off, I turned it back on! And, I might add, having a computer working like it’s supposed to greatly brightens my day as well!

I’m not sure how much I will be posting next week, but after that I should be back to a normal schedule.

Friday’s Fave Five

FFF snowflakes

Itโ€™s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

Many of you know that we have cared for my husband’s mother in our home for the last 5 1/2 years. She has taken a sudden turn for the worse in the last few days, and it appears she is on the last stretch of her journey here. So this has been a difficult week in many respects. Because of that I almost didn’t do a FFF – I wasn’t sure if it would be appropriate. But it’s always appropriate to notice and thank God for blessings, large and small. So here are some of the brightest moments:

1. Catching up with an old friend. My husband’s pastor’s kids attended high school and college with him, and their family was like his second family. One of them was in town for an appointment earlier this week and asked if we could get together, so we had him here for lunch. It was so good to catch up with him and hear news of the rest of the family.

2. Frozen broth. When I made broth from the Christmas ham bone for ham and potato soup in December, I had a lot extra, so I put it in the freezer. It was nice to be able to pull that out for a special lunch with our friend. And I realized, as I was cutting up potatoes and thawing the broth, that I didn’t even have to add seasonings as that had already been done – another plus.

3. Encouraging words from friends at just the right moment.

4. Cleaning up bushes out front was on my husband’s agenda the last few weeks of December when he was off, but he wasn’t able to get to it. He spent last Saturday afternoon on them, and they look so much better.

5. God’s timing. Our church is reading through 1 Corinthians, and wouldn’t you know the great “resurrection chapter,” chapter 15, came up in our reading for today, when my m-i-l is in the worst condition she has been so far. Verse 26 calls death the last enemy. Whether it occurs suddenly, as with my mom, or in a slow decline, as with my husband’s mom, it’s awful either way. It is an enemy, and it’s ok to hate it. But the gospel in verses 3 and 4, that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again, takes the “sting” out of death. We know, when she passes, that some day we’ll see her again, along with our other loved ones who have gone before, though we miss them til then.

Friday’s Fave Five

FFF snowflakes

Itโ€™s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

For some reason I am still in the “What day is this?” mode from the holidays. I don’t know why, as we’ve been back into the regular routine for a week now. But I did remember that it’s Friday, and time for FFF! Here are some of my favorite parts of the last week:

1. A valuable find. I keep some not-read-yet books in the bottom drawer of my nightstand. I hadn’t opened that drawer in I-don’t-know-when, but I did this week to see if I could make room for some new books. The books that were there were dusty, so I decided to clean them off. Then I ended up taking everything out to clean and organize and discovered – a $100 bill in the bottom of the drawer! I certainly didn’t remember missing $100. I don’t even have a $100 bill very often. After being mystified for days, wondering how it got there, I faintly remembered receiving it in a card from my husband on some gift-giving occasion. Not wanting to carry it around with me in my purse, I put it in the drawer for safekeeping. So it was like getting a gift all over again! And a smaller bonus: I got reacquainted with what I had in that drawer and did make space for more.

2. Another valuable find. I’d been missing my favorite umbrella for months. I checked the places I thought I might have left it, but couldn’t find it. It was special both because it was pretty and because my husband gave it to me. I didn’t have it on a “wish list,” which we usually exchange for gift-giving ideas: it was just something he saw that he thought I might like. So I mourned its loss for a while. But he discovered it this week – in the glove compartment of my van. I don’t know how it got there, either! I keep it on the passenger-side floorboard, and all I can figure is that one of the boys rode on the side seat once and put the umbrella in the glove compartment to get it out of their way.

These two finds make me think I should do a thorough spring cleaning! ๐Ÿ™‚

3. Sleep. I felt like my body was trying to come down with something this week. On one particular day, every time I sat down for long, I fell asleep. But I think that was my body’s way of fighting off whatever this is. I still have a scratchy throat and am blowing my nose often, but I don’t have the heavy, boggy sinus pressure any more. Hopefully I headed a worse cold off at the pass.

4. Make your own pizza night. I found these single-serving pizza crusts in both regular and gluten-free, then set out pizza sauce and various toppings for everyone to put together their own. The downside was that some had to wait because the oven couldn’t accommodate everyone’s at once. But since they took less than ten minutes to bake, the wait wasn’t too very long. Dinner was both fun and tasty!

5. Cleaning out the sewing/craft room closet. No, this wasn’t inspired by # 1 and 2. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s the place I stick things I don’t know what to do with yet, and it was stuffed. I’m only about halfway done, but I feel much better about it and it’s much more usable already. I hope to finish by the weekend, if not before.

Happy Friday!

Friday’s Fave Five

FFF snowflakes

Itโ€™s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

The first FFF of the new year! And 2019 has been good so far! It helps so much to start off the year counting one’s blessings. Here are five of mine from the last week:

1. The Dolly Parton Stampede. We’ve gone a couple of times before, but that was before Timothy came along. We felt it might be overwhelming to him in years past, but we thought he might enjoy it this year. The pre-show was a little too noisy and too much for him, but he enjoyed the rest of it. A fun family outing!

2. New Year’s Eve. We’re not big partiers, but we enjoyed bowling and lunch at a Mexican food place, then we had nachos for dinner and played games with the family. We turned on the TV just long enough for the countdown and the ball drop. We had sausage, cheese, crackers, and ham salad for snacks as well as gluten free blondies.

3. Family time. My oldest son was here through New Year’s Day, and it was so nice to have the whole family together for a while longer. My husband is off til Monday. I realized just before Jeremy left that we hadn’t gotten a family picture together, so we took a quick family selfie.

Although saying good-bye never gets easier, we were thankful that all of Jeremy’s flights home departed and landed on schedule and he had no problems getting home. That’s the first time that has happened in a long time!

4. New calendars are one of my favorite things. All those nice clean pages!

5. Home depot shopping and planning. Our master bathroom has carpet, and it has been our plan ever since we moved in to take that up and replace it. Jim has brought home samples of flooring, but yesterday was our first time to look at it together. And we made a decision! And, it looks like this will lead to something of a makeover. We looked at paint for the walls and talked about painting the cabinet and changing out the hardware on it, too. I’m so excited! Plus the outing, perusing, and planning was fun.

Happy Friday!

Friday’s Fave Five

christmas FFF

Itโ€™s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Here are some of the best parts of the last week.

1. Our 39th anniversary. I know I mentioned that last week – but it was in the morning before we celebrated. ๐Ÿ™‚ We went out to a favorite restaurant while my son and d-i-l stayed with Great-grandma. Then we exchanged cards at bedtime (our ritual for years), and on another night my daughter-in-law made us a special dinner.

2. Having all the family together. My oldest son came in last weekend and is here for several days, and Jason, Mittu, and Timothy have been here quite a bit. Though I hope we’ll always celebrate Christmas together, I don’t take that for granted.

3. Christmas Day, of course, with a special breakfast, reading the Christmas story, the happy chaos of opening gifts and sharing the details associated with them, a great dinner, naptime, and leftovers, pie, and games in the evening.

A couple of Timothy’s new gifts:

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4. Christmas cards and newsletters. Though the number dwindles each year, I love sending and receiving Christmas cards, catching up with news in people’s Christmas letters, and seeing family photos.

5. A new iPad mini. I use my iPad mini quite a lot, doing most of my Kindle reading there and playing word games with my sisters, among other things. I have been frustrated with it for months due to extremely slow loading and apps crashing. One app would not update, and when I checked to see why, it said it needed a higher operating system than what I had – and my device apparently didn’t update any further (it’s operating system was 9.-something, while my phone’s is 12.1). So that was evidently what was causing my other problems with the iPad. I told my husband about the issues and asked if he could keep a lookout for a deal on a new iPad mini. He surprised me by giving me one for Christmas. We got it set up last night, and it’s so refreshing to have everything work well and speedily. So I am thankful not only for a good working device, but the thoughtfulness behind it.

Enjoy the rest of 2018!

Friday’s Fave Five

christmas FFF

Itโ€™s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

I imagine this week is as busy for you as it has been for me, so I’ll make it short and sweet today. ๐Ÿ™‚

1. Making Christmas cookies with Timothy.

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2. Good food and fellowship! Our church had a potluck dinner after services on Sunday, and then I had lunch out with a friend later in the week.

3. A text from my husband that he was making dinner. And not just any dinner! He had gotten some beef and chicken, marinated them, and cooked them in the sous vide cooker my oldest son had made for him. Not only was that helpful during a busy week, but it was really good!

4. A big answer to a small prayer. I’ll say more about it later, but I acknowledged while bringing it before God that my request was relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. I’d adjust if it wasn’t granted, but it would be a major blessing to me to have the answer I was seeking. To see God abundantly bless in response just touched my heart that He cares about all the concerns of His children.

5. Our 39th anniversary is today!

I hope your week is going well, and I wish you a wonderful Christmas!

 

Friday’s Fave Five

christmas FFF

Itโ€™s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

The days keep ticking by, and here we are halfway through December already! Funny how time keep the same pace, yet seems faster or slower than it really is. Friday’s Fave Five provides a time to slow down and savor a bit. Here are some favorite parts of the last week:

1. Lunch with a friend – not the friend I have often mentioned meeting with. We’ve had each other’s families over for dinner, but this was our first lunch get-together – and I look forward to more!

2. A family outing. My son and daughter-in-law invited us to a Christmas craft fair near the downtown area last Saturday. The craft fair itself was kind of a bust – a lot of essential oils, bath bombs, and home maintenance stuff, like gutter guards. Very few actual handmaid crafts (except I guess the oils and bath stuff might have been handmade, but, still – not at all like the craft fairs I used to attend. And artificial scents give me a headache anyway.) But right near the end we found some nice handmade items and a few gifts. The outing was fun even though the fair itself didn’t live up to my expectations. Timothy got some free treats. ๐Ÿ™‚ Then we went to lunch at a favorite downtown restaurant. I’m so glad Knoxville’s downtown area isn’t overwhelming like those of larger cities where we have lived. I brought this chocolate-covered peanut butter cookie home for later from the restaurant – sooo good!

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3. Ticking things off the ol’ Christmas to-do list. I finished the family newsletter and Christmas cards this week and got those sent out. I think I have most of the shopping done except for a few items I need to confer with my husband about. I’ve made a dent in the wrapping and have two packages to send out tomorrow (Friday – I am writing this Thursday). I make Christmas cards for the immediate family, so I need to start those – hopefully tomorrow. And somewhere in the next week I hope to get a haircut.

4. Free books. A few weeks back I won Adam’s quarterly mini-challenge for the TBR Pile Challenge, with the prize being the book of my choice from Book Depository (I chose 84, Charing Cross, one that has been on my to-read list for ages). I also won a copy of Karen Sebastian‘s book, The Power of Hope for Caregivers – I think as a result of a comment on her blog. An author whose newsletter I get offered a free Kindle copy of one of her books for subscribers, and Audible, as it does every December, offered its members a free gift. This year it’s The Christmas Hirelings by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. It’s quite good so far!

5. A snow day. I have to admit I don’t enjoy snow days as much as I did when the kids were young. Usually when it snows, my husband goes wherever he has to go anyway, and my mother-in-law’s caregivers or bath aides don’t come. But this time it snowed on Sunday. The caregiver did come and my husband didn’t have to be anywhere.

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As you can see, there’s not much snow at this point, but we did get more. Since the road situation was iffy, our church cancelled services. Though I missed meeting with everyone, it was nice to have an unexpected whole day of rest. Jason and Mittu sent us a video of Timothy enjoying the snow.

And that’s it for this week! Happy Friday!