Sunday, May 29, 2011

a herd of cows

  • JJ Heller concert at our church last night was awesome!
  • Desert Botanical Garden this morning was amazing!
  • packing for Wisconsin this afternoon was daunting.
  • my nephew Aaron took this herd of cows picture on the farm
  • which reminds me of these verses ~
  • Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. Jeremiah 1:5
  • I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Ps 139:14
  • Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor. 5:17
  • I am in the world, but not of the world. John 17
  • that's not always easy... and sometimes I feel like that odd cow in a herd.
  • I may be the only person on the planet that correlates cows with bible verses.
  • I just spent 2 hours trying on my entire wardrobe. 
  • I recently lost some weight and all those clothes I had hoped to wear someday are like totally out-of-style. Like ridiculously out-of-style! Like my daughter says I need a new wardrobe out-of-style!
  • I have got to stop saving everything.
  • and I can't get this song out of my head.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Farm ~ Wisconsin

We've been driving back to the farm in Wisconsin for over 30 years.
And here it is... the farm... and the house that built me.
My brother Ron & his wife Deb own the farm now,
and I am so grateful that I can go back and "touch this place and feel it".

And yes, that would be me and my husband baling hay on the farm 31 years ago!
We were married in 1979 and drove back to the farm the summer of 1980
for my brother Ron & Deb's July wedding.
I am so happy that this memorable moment was captured on film!
Be sure to enlarge so you can see my hard-working husband stacking hay bales.

You can check out more "Memories on the Farm" pictures HERE.

This is one of the last pictures taken of my Dad driving the John Deere tractor that he loved.
And this will be my first trip back to the farm since my Dad's passing on Dec. of '09.
I am so aware that the timing of this trip could not be more perfect.
Lots of changes going on and that inevitably evokes a need for me to connect with my roots...
to reflect, reminisce and remember.

Monday, May 23, 2011

my Sleeping Beauty

Emolyn loves to pretend. And I love to pretend. So that's what we do every Thursday.
Emolyn fluctuates between wife and princess. She shares in great detail about her 'husband' and her 'kids'... and she will correct me if I make an assumption that she is a wife when she is really a Princess. 

Her 'husband' works at 'donation', which is located near the 'Zoo'. She loves to talk about her 'wedding'... and is clear to point out that when she is a 'woman' she will wear a 'white dress and fancy shoes' to her wedding... but she is 'just a little girl', so she wore a 'blue dress and fancy shoes' to her wedding. Her and her 'husband have four children'... and they go shopping a lot. 

I found Emolyn's Sleeping Beauty gown at my 'new' favorite little thrift store. Ok, it was always my 2nd favorite... but now that my favorite little thrift store is no more... my 2nd favorite is now my new favorite.   Whew, hope that makes sense. Anyway, found the gown at the ARC of Tempe for $1.75. As you can see, she was a Princess in every sense of the word. 

This is a conversation Emolyn had with her Aunt Miranda while watching Sleeping Beauty for the first time ~

Sleeping Beauty and Prince Philip are descending down the stairs at the end of the movie ~

Emolyn:  Oh no Aunt Mawanna!
Miranda:  What?
Emolyn:  Oh no... they got married!
Miranda:  I know, they love each other.
Emolyn:  (more distressed) OH NO!
Miranda:  Do you not want to get married Emolyn?
Emolyn:  (even more distressed) NO! I just want to stay at home!

Hahaha! She melts me and brings such joy and laughter to my life.

Friday, May 20, 2011

this and that

  • dreaming of hitting the road in our cozy cottage on wheels.
  • loving that the temps in Phoenix have been 15 degrees below average.
  • found out I have a Vitamin D deficiency.
  • yes, even though I live in the Valley of the Sun, I'm rarely ever in the sun.
  • my Mom is recovering nicely from knee replacement.
  • Randy & I are driving to Wisconsin so I can spend some time with her.
  • we are praying for overcast, rainy travel days.
  • with occasional thunderstorms here and there.
  • I don't like traveling with the sun beating on me.
  • my husband's angiogram yesterday showed no blockage. Thank you Jesus!
  • Randy's Dad and brother both had open heart surgery. So far so good for Randy.
  • I am so happy Haley was voted off Idol.
  • but concerned that Scotty and Lauren are so young.
  • I will be glued to the TV all next week.
  • Dancing, Losers and Idol finale shows coming up.
  • and Oprah's final shows.
  • her Tribute to Freedom Riders nearly broke my heart. I couldn't stop crying.
me, my nephew Aaron and Linda
33 years ago this week Linda & I headed back to Wisconsin.
These two farm girls arrived in Phoenix 8 months before
and witnessed God's faithfulness in ways we never thought possible.
I had just met my future husband just two months prior to leaving
at a Hand in Hand concert.
On our way home, we stopped in Oklahoma to visit my sister Kathy. 
How cute is her darling little boy singing his precious little heart out!
Such sweet memories.
To all you inquiring minds, that's a Takamine guitar, not a Martin.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Miranda's ASU Graduation

Ok, so even before I typed these words, tears were pouring down my face. I am so overcome with emotion... knowing that words can not even begin to express how I felt watching my daughter graduate from Arizona State University Friday afternoon. But here goes ~

Randy & I arrived at Wells Fargo Arena an hour before the ceremony. As we entered, Randy reminded me that the last time he was there, he watched his brother Barry receive his Doctorate in Statistics, a mere 7 years ago. When Barry was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, he was told he had 6 months to 2 years to live. He not only lived 2 years and 1 month but completed his Doctorate during that time.
As you can imagine, tears started flowing... remembering Barry accomplishing his goal in that arena.

And then Randy reminded me that the last time I was in that arena, it was called The Activity Center and it was 1980 and Randy was opening for BJ Thomas. Oh how the memories came flooding back. Randy was unbelievable that night! After the concert Randy & I were escorted backstage to meet BJ Thomas and when the doors opened to his dressing room, I ran in and hugged him and started crying. I was quite the groupie. You see "Hooked on a Feeling" was one of my very favorite songs when I was 13, back in 1969.
Well as you can imagine, that made me cry... remembering Randy's amazing performance in that arena.

And now, 31 years later, we're sitting in that very arena and I'm needing to journal my thoughts. I always bring a yellow notepad wherever I go, incase I need to do just that. So while I wrote about my daughter, Randy was flipping through the program booklet. I was unaware that he was trying to find Miranda's name listed among the 11,000 graduates graduating from ASU that weekend. I was too preoccupied wiping tears and writing away. Just before the ceremony started Randy finally found her name and told me she was graduating with honors. We had no idea. He immediately text Miranda and told her she was graduating with honors... and she had no idea. That's our Miranda.
I share that with you so you have an idea of what was going on while I was writing these words in my little notepad.

Miranda, I am sitting here waiting for the ceremony to begin. I was overcome with emotion the minute I walked into the arena. My heart is bursting with love and admiration for you. I am reminded that your name means "extraordinary, to be admired" and you have truly lived up to that name. There is no one I admire more. I want to grow up and be just like you.
I am so aware that you are not about this day. You would have been fine not walking. You have never been about graduating and honors and being done. You were always about the process of learning... the classroom experience... pouring over text books and soaking up every bit of knowledge you could get your hands on. 
*** Your Dad just leaned over and told me that he found your name in the book of graduates... and that you were graduating with honors. He text you and told you and you didn't even know.
Do you see what I mean! That is what makes you so extraordinary! You are so secure in YOU... who God made you to be... that you have no need to prove yourself... or to boast or brag or self-promote. You are all about what's next in the journey and all that God has for you. I love that about you!
You have never let anyone or anything define you. I knew that very early on, that you were your own person. You were fearless. You were singing and acting and doing commercials at a very young age and nothing or no one could stop you. You wore dresses to school every day through 4th grade, and when I asked if anyone else did, you said not really, but that's ok. You wore hats when no one else did, but it didn't matter. When you weren't invited to a party and my heart was breaking for you (because it triggered heartache from my childhood), you said "Mom, I don't have to be invited to every party". And you were just fine.
You have never been about impressing anyone... or being better than anyone. You were always about being all that you knew you were capable of being.
You didn't need to hide or wear a mask... you were comfortable with you.
And because you knew you were loved... you were free to love and accept others unconditionally. Miranda, do you know that I am still learning how to do those things?
*** They have started playing Pomp and Circumstance and you are among the last to walk in and be seated. I'm an emotional mess. I'm telling you, they could play that song during a tractor pull and I'd be crying my eyes out.
While they hand out diplomas... I want to record all that you've accomplished academically these past 8 years, since graduating from high school in 2003.
  • you received the Presidential Scholarship enabling you to attend two years at Mesa Community College tuition free. 
  • then you attended Arizona School of Message Therapy in Tempe.
  • upon completion you TA'd for several of the instructors.
  • then became the youngest instructor at the message therapy school.
  • you learned quickly not to tell your students that you were only 21.
  • because most students were pursuing a 2nd career and were much older.
  • you made a good salary and saved lots of money.
  • all the while renting a 2 bedroom apartment and making a car payment.
  • then in 2008 you enrolled at ASU...
  • so that after a semester you could apply to their exchange program.
  • you continued to work full-time at the message therapy school.
  • and then you got a phone call that would change your life.
  • you were accepted to study at Royal Holloway in England for a semester!
  • you studied in England from January 4th - May of 2009
  • and then you & your friend Phoebe backpacked throughout Europe for a month.
  • truly a life-changing dream-come-true!
  • you paid for that entire 6 months of schooling and traveling throughout Europe yourself.
  • you lived at home that first semester back at ASU.
  • and then moved out, all the while attending school and working part-time.
  • and today you will receive your Bachelors from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, majoring in European History. 
THAT is why I am in awe of you! You astound me. But you know what Miranda, had you not accomplished any of that, I would still be in awe of you... your strength of character, your voracious appetite for learning, your spirit of adventure, your integrity and unceasing love and devotion to God.

Congratulations Miranda Rachael Thompson!
Your Mom & Dad love you dearly!

Friday, May 13, 2011

bowling ball * vintage cooler

Remember my gazing (bowling) ball post?
Well, this is the bowling ball I had my eye on in the weeks leading up
 to the termination of my little thrift store.
I got it for $3.00 the day before it closed. And I never went back.
And I'm still grieving that my little thrift store is no more.

And then last Friday, Randy & I came upon the yard sale of my dreams.
A backyard full of old, rusty, galvanized goodness! 
And look what caught my eye! Yes, I have always wanted an old galvanized cooler
and this vintage IGLOO is a beauty. Got it for $5.00!

Linking up to ~

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I WON!!!

When I started my blog back in 2006, I quickly connected with several other blogs that had also started around that same time. You instantly feel a kinship to them and remain loyal to them even after many years... and you are thrilled and jealous all at the same time when some of them become very successful.
Sandy's blog Reluctant Entertainer is one of those blogs. I have watched her grow in readership and influence in the blog community, and now with the release of her very own published cookbook. SO proud of my friend Sandy!
But rather than order her cookbook when it became available, I have spent the past several months entering every give-away in hopes of winning one. I know. Well, I was seriously days aways from putting in an Amazon order, that included her cookbook, when Sandy notified me that I had not only won her cookbook... but ALL THIS!!!

Oh my gosh, I WON her Mother's Day giveaway!!!

And it couldn't have come at a better time. Seriously, my husband & I have been going through the hardest season in our 30+ years in full-time ministry. So when I awoke from a sleepless night that morning and received Sandy's email... I just sat there and cried.
Thank you Sandy!!

Monday, May 09, 2011

graduation & a dedication

Friday night we celebrated my nephew Evan.
Evan received his Masters Degree from Grand Canyon University
and the Thompsons couldn't wait to gather together at his Mom's lovely home
to love and affirm this fine young man.

Randy's Mom was unable to attend
so I wanted to be sure and get these up on my blog for her to see.

My favorite granddaughters elsie & emolyn

Aren't you just loving the pop of yellow in my sister-in-law's beautiful backyard!

Congratulations Evan!
Evan's Mom, Evan's wife Myra, his brother Lyle and sister-in-law Anya.

Love this picture of my sister-in-law with her great-niece elsie.

Sunday was not only Mother's Day but the day that Elsie was dedicated at our church.
My mother-in-law was thrilled when she saw her great-granddaughter Elsie
wearing her daughter Patty's dress.
To think that she held her daughter Patty in her arms over 55 years ago
wearing that very dress!
Patty only lived to be 18, but her memory will live on for generations.

Mamaw ~ Mimi ~ Mommy ~ and Elsie

My two favorite Emolyns in the whole world!

Our Children's Pastor Shannon is praying for little Elsie
and it's as though Elsie is hanging on to her every word.
I love the meaning behind this picture
and all that we as a body are committing to this little family.
(be sure to enlarge and see for yourself)

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

galvanized wash tubs

I love, LOVE everything about this wash room. Don't you just!?
Well, it's not mine. But I will soon be the proud owner of a similar galvanized double wash tub w/ stand! Only mine will be showcased in it's original green stand. I know! I am super excited!

You see, my husband and I are driving back to Wisconsin in June. My Mom recently had knee replacement and I am going to be helping her out, while Randy and our sons play on the farm. Our son's Shawn & Tyler are flying back there for 5 days, so they can all shoot guns, explore the farm (350 acres), eat pie at the Norske Nook, cheese curds & ice cream at the Nelson Cheese Factory and shop at Gander Mountain in Eau Claire.

But in all honesty, Randy & I are more excited about hitting the road and driving till we're tired, sleeping in the van and then driving some more. I know, we're easily entertained. We'll then pick up the boys at the Minneapolis airport and then head to the farm.

Randy & the boys will sleep at my brother Ron's log cabin on the farm... and I will be at my Mom's next to the farm. I'm not sure what all we'll be able to do, but I do know I want to take my Mom to the Northfield Mercantile for Friday Fish @ Dee Dee's Diner.

Anyway, when it's time to head home, we're loading up the wash tub stand and anything else I couldn't resist... and stopping in Iowa to visit my brother Kevin's family and then Oklahoma to visit my sister Kathy's family. And then a hotel in Gallup because the van will be too full to sleep in... and then home.

I can't tell you how excited I am about having these tubs in my home. I have vivid memories of my Mom loading clothes through her wringer washer and watching them drop into the first tub of rinse water and then through the wringer again before dropping into the next tub for the final rinse. After one more pass through the wringer to wring out the water, it was time to hang out the clothes on the line. Folks, that's just one load. I'm exhausted just thinking about it!

But I have a question... what should I do with my galvanized double wash tub set? I have some ideas myself, but I know you have oodles of clever, creative ideas swirling around in that head of yours just waiting to spill. So, let's hear it!

Monday, May 02, 2011

photo styling...

lessons learned ~
  • less is more when it comes to props
  • the wind is not your friend
  • the twilight hour may not be the best time
  • especially if little ones didn't nap
  • the desert is not kid friendly
  • not a lot of wiggle room when surrounded by cactus & cliffs
  • a pink porta-potty on site was a good call  (thanks Nicole)
  • the tambourine was invaluable
  • pearls are a photographer's best friend  (thanks Miranda)
  • step stool was a good call
  • and mini marshmallows are the perfect treat  (thanks Nicole)