Tag Archives: Family

In between

In between our April SOWER project (The Potters Place in western SC) and our May SOWER project (Heartland Retreat Center, in north central OH), we’ve been able to do a quick catch-up with our kids who live in the Columbus OH area. We are only here two nights (we head out tomorrow), so it was a quick visit indeed! We never made it to Gahanna where Lara and family live (we’re hoping to connect over this weekend), and even our time with the Marysville gang was limited. Seems that even though COVID-19 is still a ‘thing’, families are once again back in the hyper-busy mode. Besides being back in school, the two evenings we were there had kids were involved with a baseball game (Reis),
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a lacrosse game (Ellie),
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(pretty sure someone out there is related to me!)
track practice, babysitting, and small group. Phew! Since we’ll be within an hour of both of our Ohio families this month I’m sure there will be more ball games, concerts, family gatherings, and of course, the graduation later in the month. The one family member whose schedule isn’t chockful of business, is this little one –
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Eleven months on Saturday, she’s quite the charmer.
And I am the happy charm-ee!!
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Better wrap this up – we’ll be packing up tomorrow morning to get back to our SOWER work!
Thanks for stopping by!
Steph

We’ve been through a lot

As sisters that is.
There’s the “Who’s turn to have the doll” trauma.
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Let’s not forget the Era of the Bangs.
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Which apparently ushered in the Perms.
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Then there were our fashion trends –
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Not even sure what was going on here.
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Our upholstery phase?

Yes, as sisters we’ve been through a lot! Bad hair cuts and questionable fashion choices aside, we’ve shared joys and disappointments, tears and laughter (oh, so much laughter), losses and gains. I do not for a moment take for granted the precious bond I have with my sisters and I thank God for them every day.

Today we celebrate Elna’s birthday,  so – Happy Birthday to a treasure of a sister and the dearest of friends. You are one of the kindest, bravest, most resilient people in my world and I am blessed to call you both a sister by birth, and a true sister in Christ.

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We even do the “no heat in the morning, bring coffee” situations together!

Happy Birthday, Elna! Hugs coming your way next month!

More Easter Blessings

I knew when we signed up for this project there was a good possibility that we would get to connect with some dear friends whom we haven’t seen in years. I also knew that there were several other SOWER projects in the area (OK, about a 100 mile radius) that might just allow for some lovely SOWER connections during the month too. But what I had failed to realize was that my nephew and family were just up the road in Hendersonville, NC, only 60 miles away.  What a lovely surprise to receive a text Sunday morning inviting us up for the afternoon  – egg hunt and Easter dinner included!
I’m not going to tell you it was next door
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but it was a beautiful day for a drive, and we were excited to be seeing folks we hadn’t seen in just about a year!
First up, it was time for the directions for the Egg Hunt.
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You know – who can find what color, the hunt boundaries, and other pertinent egg hunting directives. Then it was off for the egg gathering!
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I can see one of your blue ones, Hugh!
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Lot of fun for the little ones, and then a delicious home cooked Easter dinner! No pictures. Too busy eating!
Before too long it was time to pack it in and head back home. After all, the new job  started in the morning. But since the day was totally unexpected, it was doubly filled with joy!
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Today continued with the Easter blessings. After a good first day of work, we managed a lovely connection with our missionary friends, Jeff and Esther. In reality, they aren’t our missionary friends, they are our friends who have served faithfully on several different mission fields for the last 40+ years. And before that, we were high school friends!
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These dear friends are only about 15 minutes away so I know we’ll see them again during our time here. And we are very thankful for that!

Praying your Easter Season was filled with the reality that is our Risen Savior! We seem to only say it on Easter Sunday, but it’s true every day – He is Risen!! He is Risen Indeed!
Steph

 

A Family Weekend

We’ve just wrapped up our last Florida weekend of 2021 (or so it appears now), and it was a very fine weekend indeed! In some very special ways it was filled with family – lots of different kinds of family!
It started out on Friday with a casual gathering of about 25 SOWER couples who have either been working in the central Florida area or live in the area. It was pretty low key – bring your own chair and lunch, social distance as you were able, and enjoy each other’s company before folks begin the great northern migration!
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As you can see, we were blessed with a picture perfect day!
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(and just for fun – here’s a shot a SOWER friend took of somebody being bossy – again!)
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Although we started out in that nice round circle, we soon gathered in clusters of conversations – catching up with old friends, meeting some new friends, and generally enjoying the time of connecting with our SOWER family. Such a lovely day!
Saturday  morning was filled with our more ‘traditional’ family. We started with being able to live-stream a singing and dancing competition of one of our Ohio granddaughters.
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(Full disclosure – this is not a photo from Saturday’s performance, but it is a photo of the dance troupe. Toby circled Maddie for me because between the masks and how fast everyone was moving, I’d had a hard time figuring out last time which sweet thing was our Maddie! I know, bad Gramma – but really! At least this time I was smart enough to watch it on my computer instead of my phone!).
I never thought to take a screen shot because I was just enjoying the performance so much! They were amazing! We both were so glad to be able to be part of the ‘audience’  even from so very far away! Great job, Maddie!
Later that same morning I spent about an hour on Zoom with young builder Alex. Every month she gets a box with some type of building project from Kiwi Crates, and we work together to assemble it. This month it was a treasure chest!
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It can be a little challenging since I don’t have the instruction book and am trying to explain it to her after just watching a video or two of how the project is supposed to go. Thankfully, Mom and Dad are usually close by to help! We somehow muddle through it with lots of giggles and grins – and it’s really something I look forward to doing with her each month!
To make the morning all the more special, I ended it up with some reading time with the Waco Boys.
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I confess that this little reading project is a work-in-progress, as we make our way through “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”. We haven’t settled in to a very regular schedule, and our last reading time was several weeks ago. Life happens. The little one in the middle rarely lasts very long, the 6 year old enjoys our time together but I’m not sure he’s really ‘getting’ the story. He politely raised his hand just after I started.
“Yes, T? Do you have a question?”
“What kind of cheese do you have?”
No cheese in the story, but it seemed to be pressing to him! =) Cheddar, by the way.
W, at 10, follows along – but I not sure he’s really ‘into’ the story. I’m not giving up on this “Reading Time with Grams” concept, and I’m determined to finish the book (at least I want to know what happens to all those penguins!), but maybe we’ll have to a bit more research before we start our next book. Suggestions, anyone?
We finished off the day with our ‘family’ here at AIM! Residents and volunteers alike were invited to a Corn Hole Tournament, and we couldn’t resist the challenge.
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Somehow we made it to the final round of the consolation players.
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And with great concentration on my part…..
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We actually WON! So we were officially the champions of the losers. Or something fitting like that!! All in all, a very fun way to spend a chilly Saturday afternoon.
With all those good family vibes going on, we joined our good SOWER friend Bill for worship and one last meal together on Sunday.
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Ah….
Oh – I forgot! We had a lovely campfire on Friday night with our SOWER family too!
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It was a weekend chock full of all kinds of family deliciousness!
And for that I am so very grateful!
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you weekend was filled with some family time too. Virtual or otherwise!
Steph

Ft Myers Connections

Back in the mid ‘60’s a young college graduate came to stay at our house as she started a new job in the Philadelphia area. My Dad’s mother was her grandfather’s sister (or some such tenuous family connection), so of course my parents welcomed her with open arms.  She came for a week – and stayed for a year! And what a year that was! Even though I lost my bedroom to her, for this young teen having a cute, bubbly, sophisticated, twenty-something in the house was great fun!  I can’t guarantee my ‘remembering’, but I think she stayed with us until she married Ted and then she moved into a nearby community. She and Ted (and then their kiddos) stayed a part of our lives for many years, but as often happens, connections were eventually lost. Mom and Dad moved, we moved, life happened.  We connected again briefly in the late 90’s with the passing of my parents,  but before long we’d once again reverted to the occasional “I wonder what’s up with Josie and Ted?” remembrance.  Not too long ago that little thought resurfaced and I decided to do a bit of Facebook sleuthing. Much to my delight I located her daughter (now living in NYC) and contacted her (‘you might not remember me, but your mom lived with us for a bit last century!”).  She DID remember our family and shared that her mom was now living in Florida, as her dad had passed away several years ago.  This past weekend we were able to meet up with her, and while we couldn’t exchange hugs (ugh, COVID), our smiles were bright (though behind masks when appropriate) as we caught up with each other for the many years we’d lost touch. She had stories (“I remember the first time Gary picked you up for a date!”) and we had stories (“Remember when I borrowed your fancy hairpiece/braid to make myself look older?”). And then, of course, there was all the grandkid bragging. We only met for lunch, but what a grand lunch it was. Josie, we loved reconnecting with you – and pray that we will see you again next time we’re in the area. And hopefully that time there WILL be hugs!
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Back in the mid-70’s a young couple started coming to our church in Willow Grove. He was a medical student, and she a teacher. They lived nearby, were in their early years of marriage and hadn’t started their family yet. Just like us. We were fast friends before we knew it! By the time he’d finished up his medical training, we been through a fair bit of life together – birth of our daughter, an early miscarriage, and now we were both pregnant.  Their decision to set up a practice with a colleague (and friend) in Ft. Myers, FL, made us sad, but as we all know, life goes on! Thankfully, Gary’s mom also lived in Ft. Myers, so we were confident we’d manage staying in touch somehow or other! And we did – well, sorta-kinda! Thankfully, there are some friendships that weather the ‘sorta-kinda’ staying in touch better than others, and anytime we are in Florida we do our very best to invite ourselves over for a weekend!(Yes, we are THOSE friends!) Once we’re together, the years just fall away and it’s back to the wonderful camaraderie that we hold so dear. Jim and Sue – you know we’ll be back!
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UntitledIt’s probably been over 5 years since we’d heard from Gary’s older sister, Judy. We were pretty sure she lived in the Ft. Myers/Punta Gorda area, so last year and this year we made some attempts to contact her. There was never any estrangement, just a lack of communication.  She has had many health struggles over the years, and even her kids had not heard from her in several years. None of the phone numbers we had (or could find) were good.  But since we were in the Ft. Myers area visiting with Jim and Sue, we extended our visit and Gary and Jim spent Monday morning driving to different agencies to try and locate her. Last known address – no one had any info. Chamber of Commerce (looking for senior housing suggestions), no luck. Area police department – can’t help, but maybe the local Sheriff Dept can assist you.  The local sheriff was able to help – and in fact was familiar with her!  She was in a senior group home in the area (he could not disclose the name or location), and was able to contact the supervisor there to see if she would be willing to speak to Gary.  Sadly, she declined.  While he was disappointed that “it wasn’t convenient” for her to speak to him at this time, there is still peace in having located her, believing she is in a safe environment and that she knows that her family has reached out to her.  He left his contact information with both the sheriff and the supervisor, and we are hopeful that she will contact us in the future.

Connections. They are truly a treasured gift.  Our time in Ft. Myers included beaches and seafood and pinochle, but most importantly, it included precious connections.  And for that we will always give thanks!