Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our 25th Anniversary

Much has happened in the last month which may be the topic of future posts. You've read about the birth of Graham (one month ago today!). And there were choir concerts, and orchestra concerts, and the play (A Gift for Havilah) at our church. There were senior class events, preaching at the rescue mission, and Christmas caroling - at a home, through a neighborhood, and at convalescent hospitals. There was feasting with a friend who used his culinary school training for our benefit. And there were three days of tests at the University of CA Medical Center to determine if Tim could be a living donor (liver) for a dear friend of ours... and a wonderful time prior to that at a cabin with those friends and many others who gathered to cut Christmas trees, spend time together, and pray. And there was a rich Christmas Eve gathering with our friends (and daughter's "other family"), the Parishes, and their neighbors. And there was Christmas - with Jenny and Max and Graham (and of course Kaylee and Connor, too).

And then came our 25th Anniversary.

(today :-)

So are you wondering if we went on a cruise?

(note the sailing vessel below - and the map pinpointing cities all over the world)

Actually, we drove about 30 minutes. To this lovely little town. Reedley, CA. And using vouchers from Hotels.com (given to us because of an error of theirs this past summer when we traveled to Indiana), we booked a room in this historic bed and breakfast, the Hotel Burgess.

Here's a quick tour, which by the way, they conduct free of charge, for the asking. The place is like a beautiful museum in itself.

Come in and set a spell. :-) And then head up the impressive staircase to the
rooms upstairs.

Our room was on the right at the end of this little side hallway. Room 17. So pretty. And this one with a king-sized bed. Tim's request :-) after many years on our possibly-slightly-less-than-full-sized antique bed with footboard that curls his toes.

And they even had gold ribbons tied on the hangers in the closet.

Such beautiful linens and furnishings.

Happily for us, they've installed electricity and plumbing. And there was heat - coming from an old-fashioned radiator. They posted instructions that Tim summed up as, "If you're cold, turn it on. When you get warm, turn it off."

Some of the other rooms (which, if unoccupied, are left open for a look).

And just in case you've come with extra money and a hankering for antiques, everything in the rooms and hallways (and there's lots of stuff there!) is available for purchase. (Why, I could have worn this outfit to dinner!)

Heading back downstairs...

and out to some neighboring stores -- thrift stores! - where I found this basket and little glass pitcher and small somethings (candleholders?) that were "made in Ireland" (labeled "Irish Porcelain"). I liked the price tag - $2.

Then out to dinner - to the pub, cuz Tim thought the menu would be appealing. Oh my! It was wonderful. The chef's special of the day: Artichoke chicken - chicken breast with artichokes and mushrooms in a cream sauce, served over rice pilaf, with soup, salad, potatoes, green beans, and bread. Ahhhh. And all for about $9.99, I think.

In the morning, we made our way to the Hotel's cafe, where they had our made-to-order breakfast waiting (actually, cooked remarkably fast considering we accidentally showed up an hour earlier than we said we would. We didn't realize we'd arrived early til we got back to the hotel, checked Tim's computer and wondered how we'd gotten back fifteen minutes before we'd left).

So, here we are. After 25 years of a good life together. (Tim was doing the math and decided that we'd been married longer than we'd been alive. Somehow, I think he meant married longer than we'd been unmarried. Something like that.)

Yes, God's been very good to us.

He has given me just the right husband to love, and live with, and raise children with (and grandchildren!). Tim encourages all of us and teaches us- and reminds us of God's goodness, calming anxiety when necessary and always loving us in his kind, gentle, and generous way. It's been a blessed 25 years. May our children, and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren for generations to come be so blessed in their marriages.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Chistmas comedy

Comic #1 : Christmas. Normally one would associate this season with joy, gladness, and well....you think of the other synonyms. You know what I'm talking about though -that universal cheer that seems to wash over basically everyone you meet.....except for certain store workers. :-) These poor people must be so sick and tired of helping people that they decide that they are going to be the lump of coal in everyone's stocking. Here is a real conversation I had this last week (minus gift details or else my mother could not read this post) :

Me (standing not 5 ft away from the lady at the counter): "Excuse me? ........................................................................................... *ahem* "Excuse me"

Worker: *under the breath grunt of recognition - but no eye contact*

Me: Do you happen to carry such and such?

Worker (very prompt monotone , still no eye contact): No. I don't have that.

Me: Oh.....ok....um....well.....thanks anyway..(*I guess*).

Here's the funny part. The object I was looking for WAS in the store nearby - just not in her section I guess. Good grief! You coulda TOLD me it was a couple aisles down! :-p And a Merry Christmas to you, too!

Comic #2: "Tis the season to be loony..."
Ok - so you've been shopping ALL afternoon, you've lost count of the stores that you've scouted out, you've lost count of how much moolah has been loaned to you for gifts and how much you've loaned out, you've had to deal with WEIRD people (including yourself), and as a result......you've lost your mind - it's probably somewhere in the Walmart checkout line caught on a shopping cart wheel *squeak! rattle raaaaattle....squeak!* . Sound familiar??

Here's how it went (again gifts and location emitted for my dad's sake):

I found the store entrance (BIG accomplishment), found the item I was looking for (another amazing feat!), found Connor (phew) and then found the end of a looooong line. (There weren't actually that many people, it was just taking forever and a Wednesday for the checkout people to get people checked out. "Are you a member? No? Ok. Would you like to become a member? No? Ok. Would you like to sign up for this discount that will save you absolutely nothing really. You don't? Really? It'll only take me a few decades to enter all your most detailed information into my computer. NO? Ok. That'll be $21.99. "
So I FINALLY get to the front of the line. Only to be humiliated because I am four dollars short. I had forgotten that I had loaned Connor five bucks earlier. "Ma'am? I believe you're a little short." (!! I'm 5'41/2" thank you very much! :-p) "Oh.....ummmm....Connor do you have any.....umm no you don't....... uuuuhhhhh.......welllllll.......I'm sorry.......I guess that's all then thank....no you don't have to hold it for me...I'll come back later......" Wow. I might as well wear a sign that says "Awkward Disaster Incoming. Duck!"

Comic #3: Do you ever feel like you are living in a funny scene from a movie? Well here's an excerpt from a comic conversation going on behind us in a line between a grandfather and his granddaughter.

"Yes, dear"
"Is that salt that you're buying?"
"Yes, dear"
"She asked for SALT?"
"Yes, dear"
"Is that popcorn you're buying?"
"Yes, dear"
".........Grandpa?...... "
" *sigh* Yes, dear"
"Are you buying things that SHE wants or that YOOOU want?"
"I don't think that's an issue dear"

etc. etc. etc. :-)
It was hard to keep from laughing.

Anyway.... I hope you have enjoyed some Christmas comedy. May God bless you this Christmas season as we celebrate the TRUE meaning of Christmas - God incarnate - our Savior - our Lord - Jesus.

~Kaylee :-)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mother and Child

The songs are all around us now -
songs about the baby and his mother.
And I find I get all teary-eyed by them! Who'd have known Christmas would do that to a new grandma?
Sweet Jenny and Graham. It was TIME for pictures that included her!
(When we'd come for a visit, after the initial hugs and kisses, she'd say, "Would you like to hold him?" -- how very sweet of her. And then the cameras would come out. While Jenny watched. But this time, we got a few photos of the dear mama and her little boy. :-)

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Oops! How did this one sneak in here? :-)
GRANDPA, and dear little Graham.

So I guess they're not ALL "mother and child" photos.

(I'm sure more Father and child photos will be coming, too. :-)
Max just happens to be in the final week of school, and was mostly off studying while we were there.)

These are precious moments, too.

Have a blessed season celebrating the one Birth
that brings hope and rejoicing to all others.

Friday, December 5, 2008

May you see your children's children... (Psalm 128)

Just about 20 years ago, around this time of year,
Tim and I held our first child, Jenny, in our arms. *Graham, three days old*
We have been blessed to see the first of our children's children.
May God send that blessing again and again
to all of our precious children.

Kaylee and Connor delight in their roles as Aunt and Uncle,
cherishing their newborn nephew -
while Tim and I melt again
at the sensation of an infant in our arms.(Graham points out grandma.)

And here he listens intently to his other grandma and Auntie Kaylee.
(What fun when families enjoy each other!)
Swaddling 101 with Max:
First step - find the sweetest baby boy (see below :-),
place him on a blanket and tuck his little hands in.Step two: Wrap him like a burrito.
Then just love him. Then unswaddle him for a diaper change.
Repeat again and again through the day and night.
And don't forget to burp him.

This photo may have appeared on the previous blog, but I was just thinking again that the Lord has settled little Graham into a most blessed situation - seen in this picture and others. There are 20 of us below (16 Parishes, and us 4 McCrackens drawn into the happy clan through Jenny and Max's marriage). We love the Lord. We love each other. And we love children and celebrate life (Daniel and Kendra, with their 3 little girls - including one-week-old Emmy, traveled several hours from L.A. to be at the hospital to welcome little Graham).
The Parishes have filled their home with children
and given their lives to raising them for the kingdom of God.
(This photo: last Sunday, waiting for the next little Parish to be born.)
And Sally - a picture of godly grace and beauty. It's true.
(Here, welcoming her older brother, Daniel, and family.)Simon, already an experienced loving uncle - and older brother.
Hard-working. Gifted. And following after God.And where there are Parishes - and McCrackens - there is music. The latest addition being Jeremy's ever-increasing skills on the guitar. "Flat-picking," I believe it's called.
(Robynn Reilly's jealous :-) and inspired to learn.)

Simon turns his cello into a string bass for "Grandma's Feather Bed."
(Much dancing, singing, and laughter followed - accompanied by banjo, guitars and cello/string bass)

And then Scott brings out the spoons! Look at 'em go!
All this to say, "Graham, there's so much that awaits you! You've probably heard muffled tones of it all while in your mama's womb -- sounds of singing and laughter, sounds of God's word being read, sounds of praying. Listen to it all, delight in it, join in! And may God draw you into His arms - and send you out as a mighty warrior for the advancement of His kingdom."