Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Wishing you the Merriest Christmas from our house to yours.
My heart is filled with such a deep sense of peace & joy as we embark upon this journey back home. I feel loved, protected and prayed for. Thank you for standing in the gap... for interceding on our behalf. I know that the reality and finality of my Dad's passing will set in and I will be thankful to be among those that knew him well. It will truly be a celebration of a life well lived. My Dad loved his life. He loved working the land, milking the cows, harvesting the yield. He was the consummate farmer, totally and completely dedicated to his farm, land and animals. He loved his family in ways that produced secure, capable kids. We would strive to be like him... dependable, kind and generous.
My Dad's obituary was posted in our local newspaper yesterday. Click HERE if you would like to read more about my Dad.
I am hoping to keep you posted as we travel to and from the farm. Thank you so much for following along on the journey.
Have a safe & joyous Christmas everyone.
*** Click our Christmas picture to enlarge. And yes, that picture was actually taken here in Phoenix, less than a mile from our home, on Dec. 5th. I love how they turned out. I will be sharing more images in the coming year.
Thanks to Cora Kingston Photography! Erica, you're awesome!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

25th Annual Eve Gathering

Thank you so much for your heartfelt comments about my Dad's passing. We feel your love and prayers more than you'll ever know.
We were grateful to find out that we didn't need to leave for Wisconsin till Christmas morning. That allows for us to spend Christmas Eve Day with our children here in Phoenix. Then Randy, Tyler & I will take off the next morning. We are well aware of the many snowstorms that are awaiting us. We are in for a couple wild travel days. We gave ourselves a little cushion in case we're delayed at all, but hoping to get there in 2 days. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we make our way across the country.

25 years ago Cindy, Stacey, Karen & I decided to gather our families together on Christmas Eve and thus began a tradition that we have honored every single year for the past 25 years. Only in the past few years have we decided to no longer celebrate on the actual Christmas Eve.

After that 1st year we decided to take an annual couch picture of our ever growing families. We each have 3 children and now with added spouses and grandchildren, you can see we have outgrown the couch.

Just for fun I thought I'd post one of our earlier couch pictures from 1990. Our youngest Tyler, happens to be the same age as our granddaughter's age this year. How cool is that!
Tyler is 2nd from the right sitting on the couch- Shawn & Miranda are seated in the middle of the couch.

Who would have thought 19 years later, I would be holding my 22 month grandbaby at our Eve gathering. God is so good.

Randy, Tyler & I can't imagine the below-freezing weather we are about to experience in Wisconsin in a few days... unlike our wonderful winter evenings here in Phoenix.

Look at our little Emolyn. She cracks me up!

She loves to do the motions to "My God is so great, so strong & so mighty...".

We always conclude our time together with the White Elephant gift exchange. Some of us spend months looking for the most unusual, unique, bizarre gift of all. And quite frankly I think I nailed it this year. This Bible-toting Bunny not only sings "Our God is an Awesome God" when you squeeze its hand, but its mouth moves and lights up in time to the music. Yes, unique but also rather creepy sounding. Emolyn adored the Bunny. Emolyn's Daddy got bobble-head Dwight.

Nights like these shared with loved ones have made it feel more like Christmas. And today I hope to fill our home with the scent of my gingerbread cut-out cookies. It's been hard to focus on Christmas when I'm so busy making plans to travel back home and all the while grieving my Dad's death. But I have never been more aware of God's hand on my life. Thank you all so much.

Friday, December 18, 2009

my Dad passed away...

My Dad passed away peacefully this morning at 83 years old. My heart is aching but comforted by the realization that he was only in the nursing home for 5 months with aggressive Alzheimer. He is now at peace with the Lord. His mind is clear, the suffering is over. Thank you Jesus.
I immediately wanted you to know who my Dad was, so I am including a post that I wrote a few years ago for my Dad's 81st birthday.
Dad, your little Lindsay loves you and you will be forever missed.

My Dad is 81 years old today. Let me tell you about my Dad...
My Dad's a farmer. He retired from milking many years ago... but he still gets up every morning at the crack of dawn and goes down to the barn to scrape the gutters, clean the stanchions, lime the floors, feed the calves. He is a thoughtful, kind and hard-working, humble man. He is well respected in the community, loyal and very patriotic. He is a man of few words but when he does have something to say, people listen. It matters what he says. He loves to read. He's always learning. He likes to be well informed.
He was a smart farmer... a successful farmer. He took chances. He was progressive, ahead of the times. He also takes great pride in how the farm looks... his beautiful lawn, gorgeous flowers, his many birdhouses. He is from a family of nine brothers & sisters. He served in World War II. He is one of the most honest and integris men I know.

How do I thank him for the many ways he has influenced me just by being who he is? How do I let him know I appreciate his commitment to my Mom, his 6 kids, his community, his country?
I guess, by doing my best to be like him... to be good and kind and grateful.
Yes, my Dad is a farmer... but he is much more than that... he is my Dad... and a good, good man. Happy Birthday Dad!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

deck the halls

This year we combined my birthday dinner with decorating the tree. This is by far the latest we've ever decorated for Christmas. The flood/remodel pushed everything back, making me feel that I am in a constant state of catch-up. And now this family gathering is proving to be more significant than ever, because earlier that day I found out that my Dad is nearing the end of his life here on earth. And we may be traveling to Wisconsin and we have no idea when that will be. We are waiting on the Lord for His plan, His provision and quite frankly His peace. I am feeling very anxious and overwhelmed... but so thankful to be surrounded by my precious family. I needed them more than ever last night.

And this little lamb pulled through big-time. She had me smiling and laughing all night. She would ooh'n'aah at every ornament. She loved her great-aunt Patty's ornament that Emolyn's great-great-great-Aunt Ruth made many years ago. What a precious family heirloom. Randy's sister Patty died when she was 18, so it means so much to be entrusted with some of her special ornaments.

And did she ever love the Hallmark light & motion train ornament that we bought over 20 years ago.

She was mesmerized watching it go round 'n round the little mountain village.

And so was I............. watching her.

Miranda and one of her favorite vintage ornaments that we lovingly dubbed the "Battlestar Galactica" ornament.

Shawn's favorite is the Sugar Bear ornament, free inside a box of Super Sugar Crisp cereal in 1990. A few years ago the battery finally died, so we gathered around Sugar Bear and performed open battery surgery. The new battery took and I quickly sewed him back up and he was good to go... you know, to play music. We also surprised Shawn & Nicole a couple year ago with their very own Sugar Bear that we found on Ebay.

My favorite ornaments are the ones that the kids made in school with their school pictures adorning the ornament. Often times I would frame their pictures myself and hang on the tree... this one being Tyler's 1st grade picture.

Mimi sure loves this little girl.

And yes, she kissed her fair share of Santa's, Winnie the Pooh's and Mickey Mouse ornaments last night. She is so affectionate.

I love this one of Emolyn and her Pop pop. They simply adore each other.

Thank you Shawn & Nicole for cooking me a fantastic birthday dinner. Oh my gosh, the best chicken recipe ever!

Emolyn loves to get on her Mommy's cell and jabber on and on to well, nobody really. She has quite the imagination. And yes, that is the sunken living room that was full of water 6 weeks ago and now look at it! I love the carpet we chose. So warm & cozy.
Sure hope you're having many warm & cozy days leading up to Christmas.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

it's Linda's birthday

~ so she shall eat cake
~ or in her case, a dozen hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts free on her birthday
~ she shall read in front of a warm woodstove because she prayed it would rain
~ and it did
~ she shall watch movies which make her sleepy
~ so she shall nap
~ she shall be filled with joy beyond measure for her many blessings
~ and it will leave her humble and weepy all day
~ she shall reminisce and be nostalgic
~ while scrapbooking old photos
~ because it's her birthday
~ and because she can.

*** You can be assured I am having a fun-filled, relaxing, all-about-me day.
Check out these fluffy, soft pillowcases my sister sent me for my birthday. She knows me so well... my unceasing love of mitten's and cupcakes. The mitten one is flannel for winter. (click to enlarge) Ginny custom makes them and they are selling like crazy. Thank you Ginny! I love them like crazy!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

family traditions

Traditions held so much security for me while I was growing up. Whether it was church every Sunday, out to eat after each crop of hay or opening presents on Christmas Eve... each brought such a sense of safety and security.

So as you can imagine, Christmas was steeped in tradition. And I remember being very aware of those traditions even at a very young age. And the honest truth, you don't necessarily love em all. Lutefisk & lefse on Christmas Eve was not my cup of tea. I did not love lutefisk. In fact lutefisk was pretty awful... but the lefse, swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes & gravy were heavenly! And I'll be honest, I would have been sad had my Mom not served lutefisk every year. I would have missed the ritual of being grossed out at the smell and slimy texture, but even more so, I would have missed the joy in watching my Norwegian Dad savor every buttery bite.

A year ago I had the honor of participating in the lefse-making tradition with my friend Barb, her daughter & sisters. Check out that memorable event HERE.

I'll be sharing more of my family traditions throughout the month, but here are a few pics from a tradition we carry on in the Thompson family. Most every year since I married into the Thompson family, we gather together at Randy's parents home for the Thompson Caroling party. Everyone brings their guitars and we sing, eat, laugh and tell stories. Dad Thompson passed away a couple years ago and we miss him so much, but we carry on the tradition in his memory. Nothing brought him greater joy than watching his sons sing and play their guitars.
So who do you suppose Emolyn is clapping at? Well, her Pop pop, Uncle Ty Ty, her Daddy and her great-uncle Don of course! She had her very own front row seat! And she sang and danced to every tune.

We missed Randy's brother Barry who died 6 years ago too. He loved playing and singing with his brothers. Barry's sons could not make it this year and they sure were missed too.

How cute are the two Emolyn's sharing a dish of ice cream together. Emolyn's great-grandma gets so tickled with Emolyn's expressions and darling dance moves. She was quite the entertainment for the evening.

It's always so emotional to witness four generations gather together and carry on family traditions. To sit back and watch Randy's Mom, Randy, our son and his daughter all in the same room singing Christmas Carols... well, it doesn't get much better than that.
I am so grateful to God that He found a way for us to know Him through His son Jesus Christ. My heart is full of love this Christmas season.

I will leave you with this darling image of Emolyn loving on sweet Emma. Emolyn did not want Emma to take away her precious guitar pick. Do you see it in her little hand? (click to enlarge) Her Pop pop gave her that guitar pick at the concert the night before and she has barely had it out of her hand since. She adores her Pop pop and therefore his red guitar picks :)
*** Click the top pic. She actually found a way to clap with her beloved pick in the palm of her hand. Too cute.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

my mitten garland

Yes, that is my mitten garland featured on my new blog banner. I took that picture a few years ago and with each year I add more mittens to my ever growing collection of mittens. Last year the mittens were so packed they overlapped. It is still one of my favorite collections to get out each year.

My sister-in-law Carol got me started over ten years ago. She strung all the mittens her boys had worn over the years along the entryway to her home. It looked so cool. So I went home and gathered up all the mittens my Mom had knitted for me and my kids over the years, along with the pair that I had knitted while in high school and hung them over our large picture window. And every year the collection grows bigger and bigger.

All throughout the year I find the most unusual mittens at yard sales and thrift stores and then pack them away with the others till it's time to decorate for Christmas. I have more fun unpacking them and hanging them up according to their unique color, shapes and sizes. I even found a pair that says mitten. But I do prefer homemade over the mass produced mittens.

The blue variegated pair (far left) are the mittens I knitted one snowy, housebound weekend while in high school many, many years ago. I remember being so proud of myself, that I hardly wore them because I wanted to save them. Yes, even back then I was all about preserving sentimental mementoes.

I keep the mitten garland up through January. Reminds me of those snowy Wisconsin winters. A little piece of home in the Arizona desert.

This last picture is Pop pop showing our little granddaughter his N-Gage train for the very first time last Christmas... Emolyn's first Christmas. Makes me kinda sad, because those wall units and window bench seat are gone now because of the flood, but I have other plans on how to display my church village and Randy's beloved train set. I think it's going to be even better.

*** The Christmas concerts were wonderful, all that I had prayed for and more. My friend Nancy took a ton of pictures before, during and after Friday night's concert. I can't wait to share some of them with you later this week!

Friday, December 04, 2009

lattes & frothers

Well, I started making my lattes again this morning. Believe it or not, I was still making my toddy iced coffee, but with the sudden drop in temps, I was forced to get out my little stovetop espresso maker. I use the small one for myself and the larger one for multiple lattes. But the gadget that will change your life... my Bonjour Primo Latte Frother. Seriously, it makes the best froth. SOOO thick & creamy. And I mean THICK. But the real key to thick froth, NON-FAT MILK. And if you want to jazz it up, add a splash of Torani caramel flavoring. Or for some holiday cheer, a splash of Bailey's Irish Cream. Enjoy!

In case you think you've seen that latte pic before, well you have. I posted that pic 21 months ago... never dreaming that an hour later we would get a call that my grandbaby was going to be born... 7 weeks early. She was born that day weighing 2# 6oz.- totally & completely healthy. I was once again overcome with emotion and gratitude and joy, as I was reminded of the miracle of that day.
Mimi loves you Emolyn.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

a pink Christmas

Mamaw Bean loved pink. She loved pink when pink wasn't hip & cool like it is today. So when Randy's Aunt Evelyn (Mamaw Beans' daughter) passed away several years ago I volunteered to do her Estate sale. And that is when I discovered Mamaw Beans love of all things pink.

You see after Mamaw died, her daughter Evelyn took most of her things. Randy's Dad took very little. Remember, I got her Pyrex nesting bowl set when we married 30 years ago. Anyway, for six weeks I drove from Tempe to Youngtown 4-5 times a week to sort and weed through Mamaw Bean & her daughter Evelyn's possessions, in preparation for the estate sale. They were both collectors, so it was daunting to say the least. But also a peek into the lives of these very strong, independent women.

I remember the day I came upon these sweet Christmas decorations. And I smiled as I knew that these must be Mamaw Beans. They were pink.

I found myself so drawn to her collections, these delicate treasures. I had to keep them in the family. They were a part of my husbands heritage. They tell a story, one that I didn't know. But wish I had.
Maybe this year I will find a way to display these little gems. I'll keep you posted.

*** Thanks to my dear husband for my Christmas banner!