Tuesday, August 1, 2017
At Joe's request, the birthday cake on Saturday was baked by Sean, a Norwegian success cake. Suksesskake is traditionally served at important celebrations, and turning 80 is certainly important and celebration!
Also at his request, Joe himself made our dinner, German Lentil Stew, and turned down all offers of assistance. Both Joe's soup and Sean's cake were welcomed. I would have gladly made any meal he requested, but this was what he most wanted. There is something about a batch of homemade soup on the table that adds to any family gathering, but this was special. He first made this soup on February 4 1973 when I was pregnant with Ben. I have made it too many times to count, he has continued to make it too so it has been a family favorite; all my sons make it and their families vote for it too. In years to come, I wonder if the name will change to "Papa's Birthday Soup." That makes me smile. Happy Birthday, Joe! You are so loved. When the candle was lit and the birthday song sung, I smiled, too, at the mixture of names when the words came to "Happy Birthday, dear....Joe, Dad, Joe, Papa." What a gift you are to us, and what a treasure of family gathers and loves, all beginning with the birth of a 10 pound baby boy on July 26, 1937.
Sunday, June 4, 2017
Friday, February 24, 2017
This is my father, Oliver Parker. Daddy and his twin sister, Dora, were born 112 years ago today on February 17, 1905. All of my family loved and are so proud of this great man in our lives and we miss him very, very much. This is a picture of Daddy at about age 12 with a friend.
Note: My father-in-law, Oliver Parker, passed away before Joe and I were married, so I never met him. But he left a legacy of hard work, perserverance, faith, and love as communicated through the years to me by my husband and his brothers and sister. Now there is another Oliver Parker, his great grandson who bears his name - our baby grandson, Oliver Hilton Parker!
Sunday, November 20, 2016
November is a month of giving thanks - for Thanksgiving Day, of course, and for the many occasions our family also celebrates during the month. Ben and Kristen plus Jeremy and Michala have wedding anniversaries. Michala, Skye, and I have birthdays! We just celebrated Skye's fourteenth birthday. So many images of her come to mind. I am grateful that she has always lived near me and that I have been able to go to church with her, hear her ring handbells, enjoy cooking and gardening, and art with her. She is lovely, inside and out. Happy Birthday, Skye!
Sunday, March 20, 2016
We celebrated Nora's Birthday yesterday. She is now 2 years old. Grandparents from Tennessee and Texas (that would be us), aunts and uncles from both sides of her family plus her cousin Skye were all here to enjoy the balloons and bubbles that were floating everywhere. There was a chocolate cake, a candle to blow out, the birthday song, and of course, presents. Among our gifts to her was this apron with lots of polka dots and pockets.
I made it from 2 sizes of red and white polka dot fabric, so it was reversible. This apron is actually gift from 3 grandmothers. I, her paternal grandmother, found the valentine print in my own fabric stash to make tiny pockets. The other 2 pieces of fabric were cut from scraps of fabric from my own grandmother's quilting scraps. That means Mary Clyde Terrell, Nora's great great grandmother is part of the gift. Her daughter, my mother, Opal Terrell Teal, Nora's great grandmother (for whom she is named), contributed to my grandmother's quilting scraps from her own sewing although she did not quilt herself. Plus, she kept the box of fabric pieces for years before handing them down to me! She is the third grandmother represented in the gift.
I like thinking about the stories behind aprons and quilts and grandmothers. I am glad Nora's first apron has a story. She just likes wearing it!
Nora Opal Parker
Saturday, January 16, 2016
Shore Cliff Lodge & Inn (Best Western and Triple A logos)
2555 Price STreet
Pismo Beach, California 93449
"Your complete Resort at the Beach"
Restaurant open from 7a.m., Cocktail louge. Banquet facilities, Heated swimming pool. Hydrotherapy pool, 2 lighted tennis courts, Spiral staircase to the beach, Cable,color TV with bedside remote, Air conditioning. Claming, fishing, dune buggy riding, All rooms and kitchenette suites overlook the ocean.
Mrs. Opal Teal
413 Tena Street
Jacksoville, TX 74766
The content is in pencil, in my handwriting:
Hi! We stayed here last night & the boys & Joe (notice I omit me) rode 4 wheel motor bikes on the beach today. Ben hurt his leg but still had a good time. We went to Hearst Castle yesterday & Joe took Jeremy to sight see at the local emergency room last night. Some kind of allergic reaction, probably from eating too much shellfish. He is OK today but had to have 3 shots. We have had good food-lovely meals- Ben got a birthday balloon at dinner tonite. We will spend tomorrow (the 15th) in Santa Barbara - then back to Thousand Oaks. Love, M
This was the year that we lived in Southern California prior to moving to Indonesia. That summer we drove up the coast on "the 101." I am remembering several things about that time - 1. We knew we would be moving out of the country soon. 2. We wanted to see more of California before we left, planning stops at several places on the beach. 3. Ben celebrated his 13th birthday on July 15, our last night of the trip in Santa Barbara, the postcard was mailed.
In just over 2 months, our family said goodbye to California 1 day after an earthquake shook the Los Angeles area. As the blog subtitle says - the joy of journey as a family!
Apparently, the Shore Cliff Inn is still in operation, although their website no longer mentions a spiral staircase to the beach!
Thursday, November 19, 2015
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Sunday, August 2, 2015
Now that our family numbers 13 when we are all here to celebrate a birthday, celebrations are often so lively my photos are not great, but the smiles and joy they capture certainly are. Since Ben's and Joe's birthdays are close on the calendar and we spread the celebrating out over various times and occasions, we start sometime after the 4th of July and finish up the month in the afterglow! Ben's cake was Maddie's creation, using a family recipe called Mississippi Mud Cake. Maddie and Jordann and Skye made a butterfly cake and Reese's cupcakes for Joe's party. I am happy to have lots of help in the kitchen!
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Monday, March 16, 2015
Saturday, November 22, 2014
I am glad we have a day called Thanksgiving. I am blessed to gather family around our table to share prayers of gratitude and a meal we have prepared together. I am also glad to practice being grateful and saying thank you every day. As part of my early morning quiet time, I keep a gratitude journal where each day I write 5 things for which I am thankful I write down what comes to mind without editing or spending too much time trying to say it well! This has been a year full of paying attention to God's good gifts, being astonished at beauty and blessings, and wanting to tell about it.* As I look through the pages of that journal and browse all the photos, I have chosen a few things to share with you from these days of 2014. I chose the photo above for the way it shows being covered. I feel covered with the love of my family and God's good grace.
I am thankful for...
my forever friend, Joe
the miracle of new life: Nora Opal, arriving this Spring
my word for 2014: Release
healing for hurting hearts
knitting lace that I started in 1973!
winter garden harvest - cabbages, cauliflower, and a tree full of Meyer lemons
Skye's love of cooking and being with me in the kitchen
fragrance of a single gardenia
lessons from seeds
Grandma's rocker near the fireplace
March 16: Maddie's 8th birthday
March 19: Nora Opal arrives!
our rose arbor in full bloom (the survivor rose, Peggy Martin)
singing songs my mother and grandmother sang to me for Nora while I rock her
our back porch
dawn sky, peaches and spun sugar
old cookbooks, heirloom recipes
morning glory blooms at my kitchen window
August 19: Jordann and her birthday doll
the warmth of copper as it catches light
handwritten thank you notes
our porch swing
glimmers from the past - old family photos
November 19: Skye is 12!
*this refers to my favorite quotation from the poetry of Mary Oliver:
Tell about it."
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Today is my 74th birthday, and I have received hugs and phone calls and cards telling me Happy Birthday. I feel loved and cherished, but mostly I feel overwhelmingly grateful for celebrating another year with those who provide these sweet greetings, and look forward as I give thanks for the days and months to come in the year ahead. It occurs to me that I have never really had an Unhappy Birthday! I have had birthdays celebrated in Jacksonville, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, and Plano, Texas. But I have also celebrated my birthday in Oregon, California, Jakarta, Indonesia, and Singapore.
On the evening of November 14, 1991, Joe was in the U.S. on business, Ben (17 at that time) and I had gone to Singapore for him to have minor surgery. He needed to stay in the hotel room and rest, so I left him for a few minutes and slipped outside to watch as the president of Singapore made a speech and flipped the switch to turn on the millions of Christmas lights and displays that fill the shopping district of Singapore for the holidays. It is one of the most spectacular (and completely commercial) extravanzas in the world! I stood for a few moments, surrounded by thousands of complete strangers in a world that was bent on extreme celebration, and then quickly hurried back to my hotel room and my son, knowing then as I know even more all these years later that I feel most celebrated in the light of the love of my family.
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Long before that, one of her letters to me contained this folded article. Unless you have a touch screen display that allows you to enlarge,the above photo is not of the quality that allows reading of the piece by Marya Saunders that appeared in The Tyler Morning News Sunday edition May 14,1961, but you will be able to see Mother's lovely, even handwriting, telling me "I Love You Darling, and Thank God for you, Mother." And of course her ever practical pointing out, "This was in Tyler Paper yesterday."
So I echo the author's subtitle. Neither time nor death has stilled this message from a mother to her daughter.
Friday, August 15, 2014
Opal was my mother, making her Nora's great grandmother. The butterfly quilt was made as a gift for Opal on her 17th birthday in 1931, a common pattern choice in those depression years that so needed the butterfly's symbolism of hope. The women who chose these colors and patterns and stitched every tiny, even stitch were Opal's mother and grandmother, making them Nora Opal's great-great grandmother and great-great-great grandmother. I stood as I watched Nora admire their handwork, thinking of their stories and hers. They could not have known that almost a century later, a beautiful little girl would so love what they made. But I am confident they know now. Opal herself did not know when she passed the quilt on to me how I would keep it and love it and give it again. But I know she joins Clyde and Earnestine in blessing Nora and returning the admiration. Hope is a wonderful gift to pass on.
Friday, December 20, 2013
Daddy was loving and attentive to his parents, especially his mother, calling her "Mama." Many people have told me he was one of the kindest men they every knew. He was also kind and caring to our Mother and to my sister and me. He did have a temper but rarely lost it. Since he only had a 7th grade education, he worked very hard to earn a living. He was working at Cameron's cafeteria in Tyler, TX when he and Mother married. They both continued to work there for some time. During World War II, they moved to New Orleans, LA so he could work as a welder in the shipyards. After they came back to Texas, he worked in the Bon Ton Cafe in Jacksonville, and eventually owned a restaurant with his brother. Later he owned and operated the Bus Station Cafe across from the Liberty Hotel in Jacksonville. My first job was in that cafe. I was twelve years old, and pleased to greet customers and take their orders.
Although they didn't live on the farm, my parents purchased land from my maternal grandparents where Daddy kept a small herd of cattle, had a garden with a fruit orchard and grew some crops.
Daddy made a profession of faith and was baptized in the cotton gin pond in Bullard before he and Mother married. He was a faithful member of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville and rarely missed a church service where he could be found on the same pew two rows from the back every Sunday. He loved his grandsons and they loved going with him to feed the cows.
I never doubted that he adored me and I adored him. He was proud of my good grades and the fact that I went to college. He has been dead for over thirty years but I still miss him. It is part of Christmas for me to honor his birthday. He was not big on gift giving, but every Christmas he put chocolate covered cherries under the Christmas tree for me from him. Today, I bought a box of Queen Anne Chocolate Covered Cherries and put the unwrapped box under the tree with all the wrapped gifts. Thank you, Daddy - you are still a gift to me.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
They were married on December 27, 1931. This photograph was taken at the wedding of H.P. and Catherine Terrell. H. P. was Opal's youngest brother.
November is a month when many focus on gratitude. For several years, I have kept a daily gratitude journal to use as part of my morning meditation time. I write down 5 things for which I am thankful. Some are very small things - a bird at my kitchen window, the way morning light casts a lacy shadow on the wall, a phone call. I say thank you, too, for the biggest things in my every day: God's faithfulness and love, for the way he is working in my family's life. I give thanks for food and shelter and good hugs from Joe and our sons. I am grateful for my daughters- in- law, and my granddaughters' laughter.
I was born on November 14, 1940, so today is my birthday. I am grateful for my parents' life and love which began my life. Thank you, God, for Opal and Howard Teal. Thank you, Mother and Daddy, for loving each other and for loving me. I never doubted for a moment that I was cherished. Your faith and love and your hard work to provide good things for me continue to sustain me. You live on in me, in your grandsons, and in your great grandchildren. You are part of everything I ever write down on my gratitude list.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
October 19, 2013
Tonight I am in Tyler, Texas – the city of my birth almost 73 years ago. As I stand looking out on the busy street below my hotel room window, I think of my mother and father and the small clinic where I was born. Tomorrow would have been Mother's 100th birthday so we will go to visit her grave in a small cemetery in Bullard, Texas - a small town south of here where both my maternal and paternal grandparents lived, and where Mother and Daddy met and were married, and where their remains lie, marked by a single piece of granite. The cemetery is the burial place for many others of my relatives, and is a place I visit not out of obligation or of belief that I am visiting them, but as a sign of respect and a way of keeping our family story. A way of saying “I remember.”
Today is also a day that I gave birth to our second son, who was born only minutes before midnight the night before what was then my mother's 67th birthday. She came shortly after his birth and welcomed her newest grandchild and splendid birthday gift. Birthing day and all his boyhood birthdays, these too, remembered.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Maddie celebrated her seventh birthday at our house last Saturday with a tea party, complete with butter cookies and lemon tea served in tiny china tea cups that were mine when I was seven! She knows how to dress up in a pink swirly dress and drink from dainty cups but she spent more time climbing trees and helping in the garden than sipping tea while she was here.
Look at her smile in the top two photos. Then notice what is missing in the next picture...
She pulled her own front tooth to finish a big day of celebrating!
The evening she and her mom and sister left to go home, Maddie released some ladybugs in the garden. The ladybugs are still hanging around on the roses and mint. Maybe they miss her. I do!