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Friday, December 25, 2015

Heaven's Kiss...


Heaven's Kiss Goodnight
this Beautiful Christmas Day...

Praying that His Love has whispered sweet to your heart today,
giving Peace, and Hope, and Joy
wherever you are!

All My Love,
              Jane

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Imperfectly Perfect...

Life can be unpredictable.  Especially with 3 toddlers in tow ... Katie and Jordan are living out that crazy-happy reality daily since their adoption was finalized last August.  And several weeks ago, they were kind enough to include me in on some of the fun!

It all started with a small dream.  and it seemed so wonderful.   and so perfect.

and I said yes  :-)

So Katie gathered her little family together and some snacks and a little red wagon and some extra blankets and more snacks, and they all headed for our Lake Place.  For Pictures.  Like a Family-Photo-Shoot kind of thing. 

And what Grandma wouldn't love to be a part of that?  A picture-perfect captured for their first forever-family Christmas card.  Sweet little faces, chubby fingers and darling dimples... what could possibly go wrong?

We scouted out some potential backdrops around the place... got out the little red wagon and let those babies loose.

Did I already ask what could go wrong??

Aw, goodness... things got messy fast.  3 Adults were absolutely no match for those 3 adorably active toddlers.  At the lake.  With no boundaries. 

It started out well enough.  A nice walk around the pond...



And then feeding the fish.


However, C was more fascinated with the swing than the fish :-)


 
 Daddy to the rescue...


sort of...

but then C spied something on the ground that was much more intriguing than smiling for the camera!

 



So we moved to the old tractor.  Because, well, boys and tractors...



 And lost C completely... it would appear that tractors were not his thing either :-(




With fears of wild bush-dogs honing in on his pitiful cries, we swept them all up and headed for a walk...




Much better... until 2 broke from rank...


 Fairies were whispering... be free... fly with the wind...



Oh, my goodness, hearts crack wide...  Undone by joy, this is the face of happy...

And after the running, a regrouping and resting on soft blankets and laps.



Which lasted all of 22 seconds... and they were off again...


Off to explore... the car ???


...because that's the place they always want to go every other day... Not! 
 
So what's a new mom and dad to do when they find themselves alone??


 Snatching a few minutes of couple-time is a sure-fire way to bring 'em all back!


Worked like a charm. 


... and babies rush back for their share of the love.


And somewhere in the search for their Perfect Family Picture, Katie and Jordan found Beauty Glorious in the perfectly unorchestrated moments of a day spent together in play and laughter...

We never did get a picture of all 5 smiling perfect for the camera,
but what we did get were memories heaped with happy
and hearts filled to the brim with thanksgiving,
for this, God's Grace-Gift of Love.

And that might just be Picture-Perfect...

May our days, no matter how unpredictable or imperfect,
bring moments sweet with the ones we love...

These Imperfectly Perfect gifts of time
are the cherished treasures of a life well lived. 

In Grace, Overflowing,
                     Jane




Monday, December 21, 2015

The Beautiful Broken

 A song for your Monday, friends ... the Broken Beautiful... May Hope take flight in His Faithful Promise!




You'll turn my weeping into dancing
Remove my sadness & cover me with joy
You say your scars are the evidence of healing
That You can make the broken beautiful

 Your love can take broken things
and make them beautiful...

  ~ Ellie Holcomb, the Broken Beautiful




Friday, December 18, 2015

Dead people and flowers...

Ok... so there's this quote by Anne Frank...

"Dead people receive more flowers than living ones
because regret is stronger than gratitude."
                                                  ~ Anne Frank
And it's true, perhaps.  But it rankles.  Because I read it on the day we took mom her Christmas Poinsettias...
And we remembered her, like it was just today that we'd said good-bye...

And we wept.
The heart cracking open to grieve fresh.  Because the missing was like a living thing... and we longed for her hug and to hear her voice and... we didn't want to be here, in this beautiful place, reaching out to touch the glass wall, remembering the day we took the picture of her smiling for the camera ... sitting quietly amidst the memories, while inside, our spirits wailed with hurt and grief.  And missing.
And yes, Anne Frank, we brought flowers.  Her favorite Christmas flowers.  Soft red poinsettias.  Not out of regret.
I realize that now... not regret, Anne Frank, but for the honoring of her.  Because they were her favorite flower for the Christmas season...
and it connects us somehow.  As she decorated her home during the yuletide with beauty while living, so we "decorate" her memory in death.  With gratitude.  So much gratitude... for how she lived life full of grace and joyful in love.   And how we reaped the blessings of her life...
Those blessings became her legacy for those of us living still.  Yes, the grieving will continue until the day we gather together again on heaven's shores... but for today, for this day, we choose to bring flowers and gather at the place where we can honor her memory...
...with gratitude.  And love.
I know for many there are regrets that weigh heavy.  Words not spoken in time.  Harsh words spoken in haste.
Visits not made, and relationships begging restoration.
We are not immune.  Regrets can haunt.  Especially during this hallowed time of year.  Yet there can be a choosing, an intentional turn towards gratitude.
An opening of our hearts, cracked with grief, to the possibility of Hope beyond the grave...
It is the beauty of this season, marked with Joy, written in Love...
"For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace."
         ~ Isaiah 9:6
No matter the regrets, or hurts or pain we are journeying through...the Christ-Child Redeemer will be our Mighty God who is strong enough for all our weakness, our Wonderful Counselor in times of fear, the Everlasting Father who holds us when we fall, and the Prince of Peace for our hearts grieved sore.
So, yes...bring flowers!  With Gratitude.  And in so doing, pay honor to the memories of Love and the Blessings received...
Carried by the Grace of Thanksgiving and Remembering this night, Always,
                                                                 Jane

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Beating Cancer...

That's the drumbeat of this daughter's heart.



Beating pancreatic cancer dead in its tracks.  Finding the cure for all the mothers and fathers, the babies, the brothers...the friends, the sisters, the aunts and the uncles... No one should ever have to hear those words...

the cancer, your cancer... it's terminal... there's nothing more we can do.

Yet, despite it all, we fight on.  Struggle hard.  Beg heaven.  Search long...

And in the wee, dark hours, when the midnight surrounds, we find, perhaps, just a bit of Grace... a spark that fans our fading hope...

That is how I felt when I stumbled across Chris Wark's story.  He is a fellow cancer warrior, but more importantly a cancer survivor.  He shares his inspiring story at Chris Beat Cancer.

Stop reading this post and go check it out...now... :-)

See?  Chris packs a punch... I would not send you on a wild goose chase...ever! (I promise)  His story, while not journeying with pancreatic cancer, is an encouragement for all cancer warriors.  And he shares a wealth of practical and compelling wisdom for the fight.

The initial diagnosis of cancer is probably one of the hardest things any of us will ever face.  And in the midst of this anguish-filled, terror-inducing nightmare of a moment, the doctors are outlining treatment options and asking us to make decisions that will hugely impact the balance of our very lives... it's incredibly hard to step back and even take a breath when our emotions have us in such a chokehold.

Chris manages to share vital information for the cancer patient in a concise, often humorous, but always real way that cuts through the overwhelming need to go lock ourselves in a dark room and cry a river... you can do that too (we did), but just promise to come out and start gearing up for the fight... there is hope, there are options... People out there, real people, are beating cancer

That is something we need to hear about, to research, to talk about...  

And the thing is, Chris shares some rather unconventional stuff (unconventional according to many in the medical establishment), but here's the kicker, this unconventional stuff... it seems to be working...for many (not all... this isn't a post for The Cure, if only it were so...), but many are finding treatment options that are unconventionally successful.

We've talked about it here on the blog many times... the traditional vs. alternative approach.  We've even spent a whole 31 day series devoted to Mapping the Pancreatic Cancer Journey, investigating a variety of treatment plans...

As we've walked this road, it is becoming more and more obvious to me, that the Gold Standard for traditional pancreatic cancer care is not and has not changed much for the past 40 years... and we're not beating this cancer...not by a long shot. 

It's way past time for the tide on this war to change... Chris Wark is sharing the Cancer Survivor stories that put hope back on the table.

Is it The Cure for pancreatic cancer, perhaps not... but is it possible that this is the unconventional approach that might make a difference to someone fighting this despicable disease???

Maybe so... I'm pulling for Hope... for Truth... for Beating Pancreatic Cancer, once and for all.

Graced to be in this Fight, Always,
                                               Jane

Monday, December 7, 2015

Router Rebellion...

Can we all agree that I am technically-challenged?  Yes?  It's true. I am not proud.

Computers speak in foreign tongues and refuse my simple requests... stomping my feet and throwing tantrums didn't impress either.

Red lights blink and sweet phone technician tries in vain to walk me through a re-set.  Wires tangle and frustrations steam.  We eventually trace  the rebellion to a slim black router...  Solution?  New one is on it's way...

And if you are reading this post, then I have successfully managed to untangle wires, replace router and re-set our computer... Angels are singing, Miracles abound...

In the meantime, I have been offline for approximately one week... no social media, no wi-fi, no website, no blogs... it has been scary!  I didn't know I was so plugged in... being router-less for these past days has created holes in my ordinary life that needed filling!

So we headed to the lake place and burnt off some energy...



and cleared brush...

 
And lined up the pumpkins...
 
 
and did some target practice...
 
 
and watched the grass grow on an old straw bale...
 
 
 
and sat by the pond...
 
and watched our little wood duck...
 
 
and sat under this brilliant blue sky and oh-so fluffy clouds...
 
 
and let the day slip away
in glorious display!
 
 
 
and slowly the week began to fill
with amazing moments...
we went to a sweet nieces bridal shower...
and laughed silly with family
 
 
then drove to Ft. Worth and played tourist
at the Stockyards for a day...
 
 
 
 
and when the computer still wouldn't talk to me
I met a friend for lunch and some over-due Christmas shopping...
 
 
and so wanted to take a selfie in front of this gorgeous tree...
 
 
...well, that's not right.
But we laughed...
and it felt so good to laugh!
 
 
and then we got to tag along
with grandbabies and Santa visits...
 
 
and we laughed even harder...
I know we shouldn't, but it was a moment.
Simply a perfect nod to every parent's obligatory
"Santa Picture" rite of passage.
Those babies just didn't want anything...anything...to do with the Jolly St. Nick.
 
(But Santa smiled thru it all...he's the best!)
 
And pretty soon, I wasn't even missing my computer time...
could be that I had been missing my life.
 
So, go hug someone for real and leave the cyber world to rest
if just for a day or two.
Life is just too precious to miss! 
 
P.S. the babies were a smiling mess as soon as we hit the playground!
 
 
 
 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Birthday Wishes and a Magnolia Market Road Trip

Sometimes a Birthday Wish is so easy to grant!

This weekend past we celebrated Katie's Birthday with a Road Trip to Waco and the fabulous Magnolia Marketplace!!!


If you've been listening to my rambling for long ;-) you know that we're a big fan of HGTV's Fixer-Upper and this daughter just couldn't wait to visit their new silo and storefront!


The Silos are a work in progress (I see another road trip in our future!), but the storefront was simply a delight...



Even the floors spoke Welcome to us!

And of course we registered our visit in the guestbook...birthday girl and all...


And then we shopped...

And if you're observant (which of course you are) you noticed I'm in a different outfit from the beginning of this post (I know, you just scrolled up to check, smiling), and that's because we might have had to come back 2 days in a row to take it all in... heaven for these 2 country girls!

And then, when you get all shopped out (or you just need to get refueled) we headed for the Food Truck Court...


Crepes in Texas... Another new favorite!
Watching the children play as we ate,
the perfect family place...
moms shop, kids play, dads wait :-)


Then we wandered over to the Texas Farm Garden...



We fell in love with this rustic tee-pee reading corner!


I might have decided I want one.
With wild jasmine and sweet honeysuckle climbing the cedar wall posts,
it will be the perfect "secret" garden for our grandkids out at the lake!

We met the sweet young thing that built it...
and she convinced me we could build one too!


The Farmer just smiles...


What's one more project?!

Our trip wound down with the requisite #milestomagnolia photo op
and then it was time to pack up and head home...

Chip and Joanna sent us off with their Blessing :-)


And indeed, we are so very blessed.

Mom would be the first to agree.
but it could never steal the joy she brought to our lives.

Mom's heart beat to see the family circled together...
this road trip would have thrilled her to no end.

And in these days of counting our blessings,
and celebrating Thanksgiving with love,
we can feel her smile and hug like a real thing.

It was the best Birthday!
Love you to pieces, Katie!

Always and Forever,
                                 Mom and Dad