Glad to Be Back

i have been pretty ill for a few months, but we have gotten to the root of the problem. I was in the hospital last week and am on the road to recovery. It may take awhile for me to heal completely, but I am glad to be blogging again. i hope to get back to a regular schedule soon. Thanks to you who have come back to check me out!

In an Instant


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I turned on the television a little while ago and saw the breaking news of the school shooting at a community college in Oregon. These shootings are still horrifying for me to absorb. When I was young (my girls say when we drank out of gourds) I don’t remember anything of this kind even through high school.

Then we had 9/11 (nobody even has to say what happened: everyone just remembers). There was Oklahoma City and Timothy McVey. More recently we have learned of Sandy Hook and the shooting in the movie theater in Colorado. I could name so many more, but I think I’ve made my point.

We are saddened by these events, but I think we have become somewhat desensitized because we hear this so much.We grieve for these families for awhile until the next tragedy occurs.

There are people I know who cannot even watch or listen to the news because so many terrible things are happening in our self-absorbed society and the many mentally ill or drugged, alcoholic, or deranged people in our current world situation.

This recently has become a personal tragedy in my life, and it will not be forgotten in our family for years to come.

My dad has the sweetest cousin you would ever want to meet. For the purposes of this post, I will call her Mary. She has had some truly difficult health issues and suffers from chronic pain. To meet her, you would never guess that she has had any difficulty in her life. She is one of the most upbeat people I have ever met. She plays the banjo and mandolin, travels across country with her husband to visit her son in Seattle, and she has been so helpful with me, giving me materials, cards, and encouragement as I battle my own chronic pain. I dearly love this woman.

They were recently at my parents home a few  Monday nights ago, eating and visiting as they were on their way home. As usual, Mary lifted my spirits just to see her.

The next morning, She called my mom and was almost incoherent as she related what had happened to her son.

I don’t know if you remember the news story from Virginia a few weeks ago. A news reporter and her photographer were shot and killed as they were working on a segment with a local community leader. The photographer was Mary’s son.

The night before we had been talking and laughing. The next morning she and her husband had their lives changed in an instant as well as the fiancee he was preparing to marry.

This has totally altered my thinking about the families of these tragedies. I have started keeping a list of things like this that I hear about on the news, and I pray for these families for a long time. I would encourage you to do the same if you feel convicted to do so.

We need to remember with every death or injury that occurs, so many more people’s lives are changed in an instant. We need to work not to be desensitized just because we hear of these events so frequently.



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My Aunt Leva died at the age of 103 back in 2009. When a reporter interviewed Aunt Leva a few years ago, the reporter asked Leva what was the best thing about living so long, Aunt Leva piped up “No peer pressure!”

Aunt Leva was the youngest of the fourteen Roberts children. Her father, Maston, travelled often as foreman of a logging group, and her mother, Lucy, ran a tight ship to keep the home in order. Every younger child worked with an older child on chores, and the older child was responsible for the younger one. They worked hard “Up on Birch”, and they loved each other and had lots of fun.

Aunt Leva died in February of 2008. A friend who wrote poetry asked if she could read a poem at the funeral that she had written for her friend.


by Jeanne Light

She slipped, quietly away, Going as she came, on a Mid-Winter’s Day. Leaving behind her earthly store, The “simple” things she’ll need no more. Possessions remaining her heart treasured.  Memories rich, beyond all measure.  A Bible she had marked, a recipe book, An old fashioned apron she wore, Some clothes, some shoes, a coat or two, some photographs of friends she knew.  Souvenirs of numerous travels, an old housecoat that had started to ravel. Crochet hooks, a perfume spray, Daddy’s candlesticks, a serving tray. Some books she read, a rocking chair, canning jars from her garden fare. A family ring, a necklace heart, held close kin even when part. Knitting needles, her art unfurled, made Christmas gifts for her boys and girls.Much used iron skillets, some pie plates, too. Cause Mom loved pie – and choice country food. A quilt, some goods – for making dresses, a mop, a broom, for cleaning up messes. Her sewing machine, a thimble, some thread. A worn rolling pin, an old antique bed. A spinning wheel, some nice, warm socks. Her pen, her desk, her tithing box.  Eyeglasses, makeup, a gold wedding ring. All of these – her much loved things. These that added, part by part, pieced together her beautiful heart. She left them behind – all “tucked away”. These treasures she cherished so much. They’re all laid aside – awaiting a return – missing her gentle touch. But one “thing” she left here I can’t lay aside, “It’s” present continually – Waiting behind like the rest she loved. “It” won’t pack away…”It’s ME!

Leva’s life was busy and creative. She was creating quilts, blankets, things for her family and friends. She was always working on something in the kitchen – she was a great cook. Leva used her talents to raise her children and to volunteer to the church.

What belongings will your family see after you have passed? A long list of sports equipment, every beauty product known to man? A kitchen in the latest fashion but never used and is not the heart of the home? What kind of books? How big the TV is? Not a Bible in the house? No evidence of family together? What do you want them to see when they collect your things?

The Pool


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The pool

I love going to the pool! Lying out by that beautiful blue water, smelling suntan lotion and a slight wif of chlorine, getting so hot that I have to get in the water. There I can float or use my kick board to get a little exercise. And don’t forget that summer novel, an ice cold drink, and meeting someone new.

When we were growing up, we went to the lake every week, and we never had a pool membership.

When the girls came along, I wanted a pool membership! After one summer in a public pool, another in my mother-in-laws’ subdivision pool, we bought our own membership to a pool about ten minutes from our home. Two of the girls had taken swim lessons there.

I can’t believe this, but I really did make homemade cookies and heated hotdogs in the morning. The girls were each responsible for their own bag, with a towel and sunscreen and anything else they wanted to take. We all had our suits, coverups, and flip flops on and we were out the door.

Our goal was to reach the pool by 10:00 so we could claim our loungers. We parked ourselves at the shallow end, because that was where the girls swam.

They were too young to be conscience of themselves, and they made lots of new swim buddies. We were close to the entrance, so we could see everyone who came in and greet our friends. The high dive and adult swim area was right in front of us. My youngest actually jumped off the high dive when she was six. (She is my adventurous daughter to this day.)

When they were older, the girls wanted to buy their lunches at the concession stand. I gave them a budget, and they spread that money as far as they could. We sat closer to the middle of the pool.

At this point, the girls were more aware of themselves. They still swam with a few friends, but mostly they stayed together, floating on blowup air mattresses, and taking some time to lay out and get some sun.

A few years went by, and the girls no longer wanted to go to the pool. Two were teens by this time, so I would leave everyone at home and go to the pool by myself. I chose a lounge chair at the deep end of the pool, read part of my book, floated and got some sun. I hated it. The first time I went, I actually shed a few tears behind my sunglasses. I knew it was the end of an era. I continued to have a membership and sometimes the girls would come to swim laps. A couple days before I had breast cancer surgery, I went and swam for the last time.

After my treatments, it was recommended that I go to a breast cancer water exercise group. All the girls were gone, so I was on my own. I joined the health club and participated in the classes.

The first day I went, I was surrounded by women older than  myself. I wondered how I had gotten to this point in my life so quickly!

I have belonged to another indoor/outdoor pool close to home for several years now so that I can exercise year-round. I can only exercise in the water because of my truncal lymphedema. This is a pool mostly for older people, with a grandchild every now and then. And you know, I am looking more like them every year.

I Want to Be a Luddite!


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Contrary to popular opinion, Grammy has not kicked the bucket.

I have been in IT purgatory for the last few weeks, and I am not completely out of the woods yet. I couldn’t even get back into this account today, because my current, now former, password needed to be changed. ARGGGGG….

About three weeks ago, my Mac screen showed in large letters, “You may have a virus”, and it shut down. Fortunately I had a policy with my store that I only paid for parts. They put in the newest Mac drive, which is a 10.10.

I picked it up a few days later. It didn’t have IPhoto, or scroll bars, and something else I can’t remember. I took it back, and the technician said that there was no longer IPhoto, but my pictures would be in “Pictures”. He also said that they were doing away with scroll bars, but I could move the pages up and down by scrolling with my pad and space bar. He reassured me about my other issues and I brought the Mac home.

About the same time, I dropped my cell phone – hard. When I got it to open the screen, I saw the words RESET. I thought this meant that I could reset my phone and that any damage would be undone. I was totally wrong! RESET means emptying your phone to the state it was in when you first bought it.

I tried to undo this action, but the phone just never recovered. I bought a new phone, and the technican transferred everything to my new phone. Well, some of the things in my old phone did not make it. I had 130 contacts originally and now I have 30. I have been manually trying to enter my contacts a little at a time.

Now I felt that I was on my way to recovery. I needed to install my printer into my new Mac. I spent a total of eight hours with five different representatives to try to reinstall my printer. The last representative had me print out a sheet and we compared stats. She said I was good to go.

She was wrong. My printer would not print. I decided to buy a new printer that was compatible with my updated computer.

So now I need to install the new printer driver into my Mac, and I am dreading it. I have had the box sitting in my study for a week or so. I am going to get up the courage to install the printer this weekend. Wish me luck!

I don’t want to sharpen the nib on a quill pen and write with ink, but this new technology needs to be easier for the average Joe (or Jane) to understand.

If you don’t know the definition of a Luddite, don’t feel bad. I only learned it when my first college aged daughter came home and told me about Luddites.


1. A member of any of the bands of English workers who destroyed machinery, especially in cotton and woolen mills, that they believed were threatening their jobs. (1811-1816)

2. A person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology. (That’s me!)

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer


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What happened to those days? I remember my older relatives working in their gardens at their own pace, doing their chores early, having picnics, and sitting on the porch swing in the evening with a friend or relative. This is a way of life that we have forgotten.

Our lives are so busy today that even when we are trying to have summer fun, we work very hard at it and we spend a lot of money. Husbands and wives work two jobs to earn that money, and then they have to build up vacation days to go on the big trip. Our children don’t know how to entertain themselves. They may not even go outdoors much if they have a gaming system or an IPad. It should come as no surprise  to anyone that parents are buying these electronics for very young children. Now we are so busy that we grab fast food instead of cooking something nourishing. Big vacations, lots of technology, summer camps, summer academic classes, stuff, stuff, and more stuff (we have to have a great wardrobe for our vacation!) – we have it all, but we have lost something in the transition.

old faso

My mother’s summers were much more low-key. Mom loved riding on her big draft horse, Tom. Swimming was not at a pool with an exclusive membership. Creeks, ponds and lakes were treats instead. If there were grape vines to swing out over the lake that was a bonus. The family’s food was homeade and delicious. My grandmother was an amazing cook! The family lived on mostly what they grew or animals that they raised themselves. Now we call that “organic”.  There were books to read on the front porch while munching on an apple or drinking a homemade glass of lemonade. A tire swing was entertaining. There were chores, too. Mom participated in gardening, canning, quilting, and getting eggs from the hen house. On special occasions, Mom might have a friend spend the night from her small country school.board-games

It might be a good for us to simplify our lives in the summer. Take a break from your computer, your TV, your phone (other than calling others), even your Kindle. Play board games together. Try reading a real book that has pages that smell good and have beautiful illustrations. Put up a hammock or a swing on the porch, and actually use it at the end of the day. Get up early to sit outside and enjoy the coolness of the morning and the sounds of the birds. Give your kids jars and let them catch fireflies. Build a fire in your fire pit and make s’mores. Make homeade ice cream. Have a picnic with delicious foods and a quilt spread out on the grass. Show your kids how fun it is to roll down a long steep hill. Lie on your back and look at the stars at night. Maybe gather some basic camping equipment and delve in the world of campgrounds.

Whatever you choose to eliminate from your schedule, take time to relax and to be together as a family. That is the way to make family memories that your children will still talk about when they are adults.

Summer Break!


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corola horses corolla-beaches-2-panaramic beach-24 I am taking a summer break. I will be spending time at the beach with my big family and then in a beautifully forested state park for my husband’s family reunion. forest

I will be taking a hiatus from writing for these three weekends. Even writers need time away for rest and fresh inspiration. I will start blogging again around the weekend of July 4th. Until then, I have lots of posts written on my blog on a variety of topics. You might want to go back and read some of these. See you (meaning I hope you will begin reading me again) in three weeks. Until then, enjoy this beautiful time of year.

Grammy Jan


Reflections on D-Day

I wrote this last year for D-Day, and as I reread the post today, I didn’t think I could improve on my thoughts from last year. D-Day was the beginning of the end of World War II in Europe, and was the largest invasion in history. We should never forget what these men did on that day. The world might be a different place if not for their courage. Please take a moment today to remember the sacrifices made by many on D-Day.

Grammy's Life . . . So Far!™ Dedicated to the seasons of a woman's life.

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Today, June 6th is the 71th anniversary of D-Day. Not many men who fought there are still living. I observed or remembered three stories that day.

There was a group of WWII veterans flying out of Louisville to view the WWII Memorial, the Korean Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial. The trip was totally sponsored and even included the veterans’ meals. I watched on TV as these old, stooped, or wheelchair bound men were going through the airport to board their plane. They were so excited! It was hard to imagine that they were the strong young men who had stormed Omaha Beach and actually turned the tide of the war. But I would bet that each of them keep the photos to prove it.

A veteran who lived in a nursing home in England was told there was no room for him on the ferry that was taking a group…

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Will It Be Enough?


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When my husband and I first married, he was a policeman. He seemed to enjoy his work, so I was surprised when he talked to me one April about his desire to go to dental school and be a dentist like his father.

He told me he needed about a year of prerequisites before he could apply. It was alright for me to work while he was in school; we had no children. That is until January of the next year, when Sarah Elizabeth was born. It was eight months before dental school would start. About this time I also learned that I had to complete my masters degree within a certain time frame in order to keep my teaching certificate.

I was overwhelmed. I had the summer with Sarah and then I returned  to work.

I had a spot being held for me in the kindergarten where I had worked before. I looked for Mary Poppins to watch Sarah, but never found her. Sarah, and later Emily, went through sitters at home (both good and bad) and daycare.

I knew this was the way things worked in our society. Many women worked and put their child or children in daycare. I do not judge any woman; each woman needs to do what she is called to do. Some women do not have a choice; they need to work to help support their families. I was never a part of the “mommy wars”.

But my calling, my heart’s desire, was to be at home with my children. I did not want to miss all the firsts, and I basically loved spending my day with Sarah, and then Emily. I kept teaching, and working on my masters degree every semester, although I was very unhappy.

I finished my masters degree about three weeks before Emily was born, which was about the time Bryan’s senior year of Dental School began.

At the end of Bryan’s senior year, I resigned my teaching position. Bryan would be doing a residency, and I would finally get to be the “mom at home” that I had wanted to be for four years. I don’t know if I have ever been more excited than when that change occurred.

I brought home the teaching supplies that I had purchased or designed and put them in the corner of the utility room. I would not have said this aloud to anyone, but I wondered to myself, will this be enough? I wondered if I would miss compliments from my peers or the administration, and no longer having that professional status.

I laugh when I think of that day. Being home was more than I ever thought or imagined it would be. I would not trade my years at home with my girls for anything.

Last Thursday, I went to clean out my school room and bring home the teaching supplies that I had purchased. I was not excited this time; no children were waiting at home for me. I loved teaching and all it encompassed, but I had to leave this time because of my health. I also knew that it was probably the end of my teaching career.

My little CRV is loaded with my teaching supplies out in the driveway, and I plan to unload a little at a time, so I can find a place for everything before I bring it into the house. And once again, I find myself wondering, will this be enough?

I can’t see the future, but somehow I think it will be.

Just another season of a woman’s life.