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Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Gift of Each Other

One of my greatest joys as a grandmother is witnessing the joy that my granddaughters have in being together, and now, the joy with which they have welcomed their new baby boy cousin.  I remember playing with my cousins when I was small, and am so glad they treasure their times together, the gift of each other.

Thursday, January 5, 2017


We are so happy to have Jeremy and his family with us this week.  Maddie and Jordann went with me to pick out a charm for their bracelets since that was part of their Christmas present.   We had fun looking and they chose very carefully. Jordann wanted a snowflake, but not just any snowflake, she found one that was just right for her.  Maddie chose tiny angel wings because they reminded her of the angel at the top of a Christmas tree. We talked about charms they might add in the future, how long they might have their bracelets and who they might pass them to in years to come.  I was the one who was charmed.  Conversations with my granddaughters are one of my favorite things in all the world.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

53 Years, Remembering!

Proud parents of the groom.  Ben and Kristen's wedding 2008

              Historical John Wesley Love home in Jacksonville, our home 1981-1982

Another anniversary

Retirement for Joe after 52 years in the oil industry

Recipe box Joe made for me our first Christmas 1964, Corvallis, Oregon

Our 3 little boys and their Gingerbread House 1973

Faith, always.

Reminders of our life in Jakarta, Indonesia (at my talk to the children at Shady Oak Christian School)

Angel and Bella

Our antique rose in the garden on Greenhaven. Getting ready to plant some here.

Tickets from so many performances, games, concerts.

Our wedding group.  December 28, 1963


Our mission statement for our Sugar Land house, working on one for our home with B&K in Richmond.

Homeward Bound.  A magnolia leaf.

Joe and me as Jacob and Rachel, innkeepers for so many years in Experiencing Christmas, FBC Richmond.

Snowflakes we cut for our first Christmas tree in Oregon.

So many happy times in the porch swing together and with our granddaughters.

Today is our 53rd wedding anniversary.  Last night and this morning we mused and remembered all those years ago and the beginning.  Things like what we did the evening before our wedding day (Joe and his best man went to a movie - Spencer's Mountain.  I only remember being at home, tweaking the decorations I made to top our wedding cake, trying on my wedding dress and working out last minute fitting details such as pinning a tea towel around my waist to hold up the heavy train and keep it from sagging!)  It was a happy and exciting time, but I do not remember feeling stressed.

Today, many lovely weddings are planned at least a year in advance, with many decisions and projects involved.  The stress, as well as the cost, can rise to uncomfortable levels.  Someone asked me just this week about the issues involved with having a Christmastime wedding, with so many other things on the calendar, and subsequent years when the anniversary might be eclipsed in all the Christmas celebration. It is true, our anniversary falls 3 days after Christmas and our celebrations have not been lavish (other than the beautiful 50th-anniversary dinner given to us by our family) - but I would not change anything.  I love Christmas - the meaning, the music, the colors, the family gathering. That translates so very well into the marriage celebration.  We decided to have our wedding in October, only a little over 2 months before it happened!  We chose to keep costs to a minimum and meaning to maximum. I made my wedding gown, sewing in between studying for nursing finals, and bringing the last pearls to sew on the lace train for Mother to help. I laugh when I tell you I crafted my pillbox (a la Jacquelyn Kennedy) hat that held my veil from the end of an Oatmeal box, covered in satin and pearls and made a puffy muff to hold my small bouquet.  Bridesmaids wore cranberry faille coat dresses with white organdy collars and carried a single candle with a tiny nosegay of white flowers. We used a bank of green magnolia leaves from a wedding held the day before instead of flower arrangements in the church, and our reception was in the fellowship hall where punch, cake, nuts, and buttermints were on the table. We had no honeymoon, choosing instead to drive back to Oklahoma City in a snow storm the day after a night in a motel in Dallas. We had school for me and a job hunt for Joe to get back to. And it was thrilling and wonderful and the most beautiful time and place and way to get married.

Yes, it makes me smile to think of the beginning, but oh, the memories all through these years.   This is what makes me weep and smile at the same time. The years have brought so much happiness and fullness. Faith, yes. fLove, yes. Friendship, yes. Hard work, yes.  Sad times, yes.  Laughter, oh yes. Three of the finest sons any parents could possibly have. And now the women they chose who are our daughters. Grandchildren, and more love. Pride, yes. Loss, yes.  Stretching, yes.  Tragedy and pain, yes, that too.  Perseverance, without doubt.  Glorious joy, yes.  Contentment, yes. Illness, yes.  Hope, then, and now.

I chose a few random photos that are markers for me of a life and work together, of love.

Thursday, December 22, 2016


Nora and Joe and I lit the first Advent candle the day after Oliver was born. We have been marking the days by hanging the tiny figures on our vintage Advent calendar. We have baked Candy Cane Cookies, joyed in the twinkle lights of the Christmas trees, and tried out a few carols. Solstice has come and gone, darkness leaning now toward the light - Advent reflections are in everything. Even in our part of the South Texas Gulf Coast we have had a share of cold weather. Winter is here, although the picture is one from years past. Our Peace sign in the front courtyard is out for Christmastime, but the blessing is for always.

  • “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” ― Edith Sitwell

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Music of Christmas

I love Christmas music. For many years, I have begun listening to all my favorite albums and artists on November 14, for my birthday gift to myself!  I love all the carols and traditional music as well as newer artists and music. Some of the oldest and dearest are ones I have played on the piano and have the sheet music. This one could be one of the first copies of Irving Berlin's White Christmas!  It is tattered and worn and fragile, but I still love opening it and playing the chords and melody from its yellowed pages.  So this year, I sit down and play again. Sometimes Nora hears and joins me on the bench and plays her own version.  And this year, once again, I will watch the movie and sing along with White Christmas and Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep!  Merry Christmas!  

Sunday, December 11, 2016


When we began pulling out our Christmas boxes and trees, all our beloved decorations were the same, but we were finding new places to put them in our new home. We were also combining Ben and Kristen's things, so we had alot of choices to make.  It has made this house feel even more like home to see it in its Christmas dress. The mantle looks the same, but it is a different fireplace.  We have Christmas trees in new and unusual places. But the dear, familiar ornaments that hung on our tree as our boys were growing up, and even the few sweet old glass balls that hung on my childhood tree remind me that many things remain unchanged.  The arrival of our new grandson, Oliver, has made it all even sweeter. Today Nora and I made Candy Cane cookies, just like the ones our family made when with our little boys so many years ago. She loves the Advent calendar. Sean and Teion and their girls have been here to help and will be at our table on Christmas Day. Jeremy and Michala, Maddie, and Jordann are coming soon after Christmas. The wonder of Christmas is here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Introducing Oliver!

We are in love with our newborn grandson, Oliver!  He was born on November 26, 2016. and just spent his first night at home. He is a precious gift and we are thankful for him.